Cruz goes deep as Mariners roll past Padres

PEORIA -- The Peoria Sports Complex unveiled a shiny new HD scoreboard beyond the left-center field wall on Saturday. Nelson Cruz nearly hit it with his first swing of Spring Training.

The Seattle slugger launched a three-run first-inning blast off Paul Clemens, and the Mariners opened Cactus League play with a 13-3 victory over San Diego on Saturday.

"It's always good to hit your first one out, even in Spring Training," said Cruz, who has racked up 87 homers over the last two seasons for Seattle.

For the Padres, Travis Jankowski homered as part of a three-run fourth, and catcher Austin Hedges -- who was handed the keys behind the plate this offseason -- went 2-for-2 with a rocket double. Hedges will need to answer some questions about his bat this year, and he's off to a good start.

Mariners starter Ariel Miranda looked sharp over two scoreless frames in which he allowed only one hit -- a Cory Spangenberg single. Casey Fien followed Miranda with a clean third inning and a pair of strikeouts.

For San Diego, Clemens rebounded with a scoreless second inning and allowed three runs on four hits overall. Cesar Vargas -- who is in the mix for a rotation spot, along with Clemens -- followed with two scoreless frames and three strikeouts.

The Mariners broke the game open with a four-run sixth inning, highlighted by back-to-back doubles from Tuffy Gosewisch and Guillermo Heredia, who finished with three hits and three RBIs with a pair of doubles. They'd tack on three more in the seventh, taking advantage of a couple errors and a handful of Padres miscues.

"I don't think you watch this game and feel any other way than this was ugly baseball," said Padres skipper Andy Green. "A message needs to be sent as young guys come up through the system -- you miss cutoff men, your playing time in Major League camp will be severely limited. We're just not going to play that way. Physical errors, you get past. But the simple things -- we've got to do some simple things better."

Mariners Up Next: Right-hander Chris Heston, acquired by trade from the Giants, starts Sunday's 12:10 p.m. PT rematch with the Padres at Peoria Stadium. Robinson Cano and Cruz are expected to play their second straight games for Seattle as they get in early work before the World Baseball Classic.

Padres Up Next: Shortly after acquiring Heston, the Mariners placed Zach Lee on waivers, and the Padres claimed the right-hander the following week. Lee, who will likely start the year at Triple-A El Paso, faces his former team on Sunday. Second base prospect Carlos Asuaje, who is fighting for a bench spot after being named Pacific Coast League Rookie of the Year last year, will make his first start.

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.