Thursday, March 20, 2003

Spring Training Games

Mariners and A's play on

The Associated Press

Instead of flying to Tokyo on Wednesday, the Seattle Mariners played a game in Arizona. At the same time their charter flight to Japan had been scheduled to take off, the Mariners played in an unusual 11 a.m. start, beating the Texas Rangers 9-1.

"It is kind of disappointing not to go to Japan because there were so many people there who wanted to see us," Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki said. "But we have nothing to do with that."

Suzuki and Seattle closer Kazuhiro Sasaki had been looking forward to playing in their homeland. But baseball commissioner Bud Selig decided Tuesday to cancel the two-game series against Oakland next week, citing concern over travel with the possibility of war in Iraq.

Instead of opening on March 25, the Mariners will start April 1 in Oakland.

"We have to go by the schedule," said Suzuki, who went 2-for-3 with a run and was caught stealing.

Gil Meche pitched six shutout innings, a day after getting the final job in Seattle's rotation.

At Phoenix, Miguel Tejada had three hits and drove in two runs as the Athletics beat a Milwaukee Brewers split squad 7-4. Mark Mulder allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings as the A's beat the Brewers for the fourth straight time.

At St. Petersburg, Fla., new Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella wasn't happy with his team's hitters.

The Devil Rays began Wednesday with a .232 spring batting average, the lowest among the 30 teams. Tampa Bay had 13 hits, three each by Greg Vaughn and Ben Grieve, in a 4-4 tie with the Toronto Blue Jays, but the Devil Rays stranded six runners in scoring position.

"Our offensive numbers this spring are dismal," said Piniella, the team's first-year manager. "Some guys have done well - I am not talking about everybody on the team.

"It isn't that hard to hit. It's hard to hit .330 or .340, but it's not hard to hit .240, 250 or .260. We need some offense help, and I hope we will be able to do something. This has persisted here for a couple of years. It isn't a three-week phenomenon."

At Port St. Lucie, Fla., New York Mets batters and pitchers played the same way they did in high-altitude Mexico City last weekend. The Mets had 18 hits and gave up 18, beating St. Louis 14-12 as the Cardinals' Rick Ankiel had a wild outing.

Mike Matheny, Tino Martinez and Miguel Cairo homered for the Cardinals on Wednesday, while Ty Wigginton, Roberto Alomar and Vance Wilson connected for the Mets. Wilson hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth.

Ankiel, still trying to come back from record wildness during the 2000 playoffs, threw 15 pitches in the seventh. He threw one to the backstop, gave up Alomar's homer, then nearly hit Cliff Floyd and Mike Piazza before walking both of them. Ankiel, who walked Floyd on four pitches, didn't get any outs and was charged with three runs.

"I just didn't have my curveball," he said. "That's pretty much a reliable pitch, especially when I get to two strikes. When I got there, I just couldn't finish them off."

In a trade, the New York Yankees sent outfielder Rondell White to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Bubba Trammell and minor league left-hander Mark Phillips.

New York had little room for White following the signing of Japanese star Hideki Matsui, and San Diego needed to fill the power void created by the shoulder injury to Phil Nevin, who probably is out for the season.

"I'm going to miss the guys," White said. "I had a chance to play with a group of Hall of Famers. I didn't want to leave New York. I wanted to come back and prove what I can do."

In other games:

Expos 1, Dodgers 0

At Viera, Fla., Kevin Brown pitched six shutout innings and struck out eight. Brown, who turned 38 on Friday, allowed three hits and walked none.

Pirates 11, Astros 4

At Kissimmee, Fla., Josh Fogg pitched five shutout innings before allowing a pair of runs. Fogg hit Jeff Bagwell in the left hand with a pitch in the third inning, but Bagwell said wasn't injured.

Phillies 3, Twins 0

At Fort Myers, Fla., Marlon Byrd tripled twice and Pat Burrell hit a two-run double with two outs in the seventh.

White Sox 12, Rockies 1

At Tucson, Ariz., Jose Valentin and Carlos Lee each went 3-for-3. Colorado starter Scott Elarton was pounded for nine runs and 12 hits in 3 2-3 innings, giving up homers to Valentin, Brian Daubach and Aaron Rowand.

Giants 10, Angels (ss) 4

At Tempe, Ariz., Ryan Jensen, competing for a spot in San Francisco's starting rotation, allowed three runs - one earned - and six hits in five innings. The Giants got to starter Kevin Appier for five runs and five hits in the fourth.

Cubs (ss) 2, Angels (ss) 1

At Mesa, Ariz., Hee Seop Choi hit his first home run of the spring, a two-run drive in the third off Mark Lukasiewicz. Winner Mark Prior gave up three hits in four innings, struck out five and walked three.

Cubs (ss) 13, Brewers (ss) 6

At Phoenix, Eric Karros had three hits, including a grand slam off Mike Matthews. Alex Gonzalez also homered for the Cubs.

Yankees 4, Indians 1

At Tampa, Fla., Jose Contreras gave up one run and struck out eight over 5 2-3 innings. Contreras had struggled in his first three appearances, but his strong outing came a day after his father was released from a Cuban hospital after a stroke.

Diamondbacks 2, Padres 2

At Peoria, Ariz. - Rod Barajas hit a decisive leadoff homer in the sixth inning. The homer gave Arizona its ninth win in its last 11 games.

Padres starter Charles Nagy left the game in the fifth inning when he was struck on the right forearm by a line drive.

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