Happ caps spring with best outing as Mariners beat Rox
Lefty allows just 2 hits, fans 4 over 4 scoreless frames
By Greg Johns
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners southpaw J.A. Happ threw four scoreless innings in his best outing of the spring as Seattle defeated the Rockies 5-4 in a Friday night game at Peoria Stadium.
Happ had struggled in his previous two starts, but allowed just two hits and two walks with four strikeouts in four frames while throwing 69 pitches. The 32-year-old, who'll open the season as either Seattle's fourth or fifth starter, lowered his spring ERA to 6.11.
Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles gave up three runs in an abbreviated 1 1/3-inning start in his final spring appearance. Lyles, who'll start the Rockies' second game of the regular season on Tuesday in Milwaukee, had allowed just two earned runs in 21 innings over his first six outings. He allowed two hits and walked three while throwing 41 pitches.
Since Lyles had just four days until facing the Brewers, he was slated to throw no more than two frames Friday.
"It's tough to end on that kind of outing, but everything's good, everything's ready for the season," Lyles said. "This was kind of like a bullpen session. It's not fun giving up runs and walking everybody in the lineup, but I got the work in and I'm ready for Tuesday."
After Lyles walked the first two batters in the second, Mariners shortstop Brad Miller laced a two-run triple down the right-field line. Austin Jackson then greeted reliever Richard Castillo with a sacrifice fly to account for the third run charged to Lyles.
The Mariners took a 4-0 lead in the third when Kyle Seager doubled and Logan Morrison drove in pinch runner Leury Bonilla with a sharp single up the middle.
Both teams played their regulars only a few innings as they looked to stay fresh before the start of the regular season on Monday.
Happ gave up a single in each of the first two innings, but both runners were erased on smooth double-play feeds from second baseman Robinson Cano to Miller.
"I felt better," Happ said. "I felt like my direction to home was better, a little more life to the fastball. I definitely wanted to put up a couple zeros and feel good about it."
Mariners Minor League call-up Gabby Guerrero, the 21-year-old nephew of Vladimir Guerrero, crushed a seventh-inning home run off the batter's eye in center field off LaTroy Hawkins for his first Cactus League homer.
"Wow," manager Lloyd McClendon said Guerrero, who played at High-A High Desert last year. "Pretty impressive. It's very intriguing. He has a very bright future."
Up next:Taijuan Walker gets the start as Seattle closes out its spring schedule Saturday with a 12:10 p.m. PT game against the Rockies at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. Walker will likely throw two innings in his final tuneup of an outstanding spring before turning things over to the bullpen. The 22-year-old has allowed just one run with nine hits, four walks and 24 strikeouts in 25 innings in six starts. The game will be carried live on Gameday Audio.