SALT LAKE CITY — Spring training has offered a perfect template for what the Seattle Mariners are confident they can do in the regular season. The Mariners are hitting well. They are pitching well. Most important, they are winning games.
With Saturday’s 4-3 win over Colorado, the Mariners set a franchise spring-training record with their 22nd victory.
“We’ve got some good young hitters that are getting better,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “We’ve got some veterans that are proven. You put the two together and it’s a nice fit for us.”
With a successful spring training behind them, Seattle is expected to finalize the opening-day roster Sunday. Wedge made no indication if the Mariners would keep Jason Bay or Casper Wells for the team’s final outfield slot. Bay is hopeful he did enough this spring to get a shot in the regular season.
He feels like spring training played out the best possible way for him.
“I talked to Wedge about it and he just said, ‘You got to play your game.’ And that was the biggest thing,” Bay said. “I haven’t been on the field a lot over the last couple of years. You kind of forget what your game is. So you go out there and you steal some bases, play some (defense) and hit.”
Bay feels healthy and feels like he has been given a fresh slate with Seattle. He loves the city and wants to continue his career in the Northwest. And Bay feels like he has made a strong case for doing that through a strong spring training.
“It helps you sleep at night and you move forward,” Bay said. “So, yeah, definitely it went the way I wanted.”
As for Saturday’s game, Kendrys Morales and Justin Smoak each homered to give the Mariners an early lead and Raul Ibanez drove in a go-ahead run late to close out the victory over the Rockies.
The Mariners broke open a 2-2 game in the eighth inning. Ibanez capped things off when he drove in Bay off a sacrifice fly to produce the go-ahead run. Brad Miller, who followed Ibanez at the plate, then doubled to left field and brought Mike Zunino home to make it 4-2 for Seattle.
David Kandilas scored n the bottom of the inning for Colorado. Brian Sweeney got the save with a scoreless ninth inning.
Stephen Pryor earned the win with one scoreless inning of relief.
The Mariners are expecting plenty of more strong all-around performances in the weeks ahead.
“We’ve got a great team,” said Seattle starter Brandon Maurer, who allowed two runs and four hits in four innings. “You saw how we can hit the ball today. Our fielding is amazing. We’ve got great pitchers. I think we will have a good season.”
Morales opened the scoring for the Mariners with a home run in the fourth inning, his seventh homer of the spring.
The Rockies seized the lead in the bottom of inning. Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton each took a turn smacking a home run over the left-field wall and boosted Colorado to a 2-1 advantage.
Smoak evened things up when he belted a home run to lead off the fifth inning.
The pair of home runs brought Seattle’s spring-training tally to 58, the best in the majors. It also marks the most home runs any team has managed in spring training since the Chicago Cubs recorded 62 in 1999.
“We’re all excited to get the season started,” Smoak said. “It’s a great group of guys in our clubhouse, and we’re just ready to get going.”