Seeking fifth-starter spot, Ramirez twirls scoreless outing

Righty walks one over four; Mariners blank A's

Seeking fifth-starter spot, Ramirez twirls scoreless outing

PEORIA, Ariz. -- With a little more than two weeks to go in Spring Training, the story line from Wednesday's Cactus League tilt between the A's and the Mariners was the battle for rotation spots by both the starting pitchers.

Seattle right-hander Erasmo Ramirez and Oakland lefty Drew Pomeranz acquitted themselves quite well in a game the Mariners won, 4-0, at Peoria Stadium.

Both pitched the first four innings. Ramirez didn't allow a run and was touched for a hit -- Craig Gentry's game-opening double. He walked one and struck out two to earn his first victory.

Miller turns two on liner

"I'm happy, I feel good because the command was there," said Ramirez, who survived the first inning unscathed because pulled-in shortstop Brad Miller snared Marcus Semien's liner and forced Gentry at third base for a double play. "I just made one bad pitch to Gentry, right down the middle. But the whole deal is just to execute. If you miss one just come back with the next pitch."

Pomeranz allowed four hits and a run on Kyle Seager's double followed by Justin Ruggiano's RBI single with two out in the fourth. He walked one and whiffed five Mariners and was tagged with his second loss.

The A's rotation is still wide open behind Opening Day starter Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir. Pomeranz is one of the top candidates to fill one of those spots.

Ruggiano's RBI single

"Obviously I want to be a starter," said Pomeranz, who has allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits with three walks and 14 whiffs in nine spring innings. "I've been a starter my whole career except for last year. But I just try to keep it simple. I'm trying to fill up the zone. I'm trying to throw strikes, trying to get deep in the game and get guys out."

Seattle's rotation is pretty much set from Nos. 1 to 4 and Ramirez is battling Taijuan Walker, among others, for the fifth slot. Ramirez has allowed just three runs (two earned) on eight hits with five strikeouts and a walk in 11 innings over his four starts. He issued his first walk of the spring to Mark Canha, opening the third. The A's only had two baserunners against him.

Ramirez said he's anxiously awaiting news on his fate. "Just like you, just like everyone else."

Jones' RBI single

Asked how hard it is to wait, he added: "It's hard. We've got a lot of good, young arms. They're good throwers. They throw strikes. They're smart. It's a good competition. You just have to wait, but it is hard."

Up next: The Mariners play their first Cactus League night game of the spring Thursday vs. the Indians in Peoria. Walker gets the start at 7:05 p.m. PT on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio. He's in the running for the fifth slot in the rotation and hasn't allowed a run in his first three spring starts.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.