Cruz, Seager power Mariners to rout of Rangers

Pair of three-run homers sparks Seattle; Paxton tosses 3 1/3 scoreless innings

Cruz, Seager power Mariners to rout of Rangers

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz each crunched three-run home runs and James Paxton threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his Cactus League debut as the Mariners topped Texas, 8-0, on Sunday at Peoria Stadium.

Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo was hit hard, allowing eight runs in 4 2/3 innings. He allowed seven hits, including the home runs to Cruz and Seager, and walked four. He has an 11.32 ERA for the spring.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Seager shows he's healthy: After sitting out Saturday with tightness in his side, the Mariners third baseman came out swinging with a three-run opposite-field shot in the first inning off Gallardo. The Mariners took advantage of a two-out walk by Robinson Cano, followed by a bloop single to right by Cruz that set the stage. Seager then laced a 1-0 changeup from Gallardo just over the fence in left-center for his second homer of the spring.

"[Kyle] drove balls that way in the air last year and he's gotten better against the shift driving balls that way," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "I've said this past winter, 'I think this guy eventually is going to win an MVP.' He works hard, he's getting better at his craft and he's learning every day."

Seager's three-run home run

Peguero shows off speed: Rangers outfielder Carlos Peguero has as much power as anybody in camp, but also showed his speed on Sunday by beating out a grounder to shortstop in the second inning. Peguero was 3-for-4 on the afternoon, beginning the game in right field and moving to center in the sixth.

Whoa, Nelly: Cruz crushed his second homer in two days for the Mariners and third of the spring with his own three-run blast in the third inning. The big DH went deep to straightaway center field, midway up the 40-foot-high batter's eye, after Seth Smith walked and Cano singled. Cruz's blast, on a first-pitch fastball from Gallardo, gave Seattle a 6-0 lead against his former Rangers team.

Martin nails Cruz: Cruz was on first base with one out in the fifth inning when Seager ripped a line drive up the middle for what should have been a base hit. The ball actually tipped off Gallardo's glove before zipping out to center field. But Cruz did not run hard to second and center fielder Leonys Martin made him pay. Martin got to the ball quickly and fired to shortstop Elvis Andrus for the force at second.

"That's my boy, you know that," Martin said. "But I was having fun before the game, I told him, 'You better be running today or I am going to throw you out.'"

Martin throws out Cruz

QUOTABLE
"I got my work in. Obviously the results weren't there, it's not easy to pitch behind in the count. That's what hurt me the most. It forced me to throw the ball over the plate. My fastball was coming back over the plate more than I wanted to." -- Gallardo

"That was special. You see him hit it and the center fielder takes like one step and then it's like, 'No way.' I wondered if it was going to get over the batter's eye. That was definitely the hardest-hit ball I've seen this spring." -- Seager on Cruz's home run

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Rangers have allowed a run in the first inning in each of the past four games. They have allowed 12 first-inning runs in those four games. The Rangers are 0-5-2 in their last seven games and have allowed 62 runs in that stretch.

Cruz seems to enjoy hitting in Peoria. The Mariners DH is 10-for-19 (.526) with two home runs this spring at his new home stadium.

WHAT'S NEXT
Up next for Mariners: Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez makes his fourth Cactus League start when Seattle travels to Tempe on Monday to face the Angels in a 1:05 p.m. PT game. Ramirez, a long-shot candidate to make the rotation, has been strong this spring with two runs and eight hits allowed over nine innings. Jordan Pries, another right-handed starter having a good camp, will follow Ramirez, and Charlie Furbush is expected to throw an inning as well. The game will be televised live on MLB.TV.

Up next for Rangers: Right-hander Alex Gonzalez pitches against the Reds in Surprise at 8:05 p.m. CT. This will be the first of three night games in the next four days. Gonzalez has a 4.15 ERA in three appearances as he tries for a spot in the rotation. Phil Klein, Kyuji Fujikawa, Keone Kela and Joe Beimel are also scheduled to pitch in a game that can be seen on MLB.TV.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.