Smoak hits 2-run homer for Mariners in win
PHOENIX (AP)—Yovani Gallardo is learning everything’s different in a year the World Baseball Classic is being played.
“Normally in spring training game you go out there and throw one inning,” said Gallardo, who will leave Brewers camp after his next start and join Team Mexico on Sunday. “We’re a little bit ahead of everybody else. My first start of spring I threw 45 pitches. That’s pretty weird.”
Gallardo cruised through the first inning and escaped a jam in the second courtesy of a double play. But Vinnie Catricala led off the third with a single, and Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders hit back-to-back one-out homers.
“Those aren’t the first ones and they won’t be the last ones,” Gallardo said. “I just started getting the ball a little bit up.”
Gallardo rebounded to strike out Michael Morse looking before exiting the game.
“He was good until the last inning with his location,” said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. “But his stuff was good.”
Gallardo, the Brewers’ opening-day starter the past three seasons, said pitching in competitive games weeks ahead of the start of the regular season should help his preparation.
“For myself, I look at it as a positive,” he said. “To go out there and compete again in these games gives me a chance to prepare and get ready for the season. I’ve never been a part of something like that so it will be interesting to see.”
Fellow Team Mexico pitcher Marco Estrada threw three scoreless innings for the Brewers, giving up one hit and striking out four of the final five batters he faced.
“We could have had him go four innings,” Roenicke said. “He only threw 32 pitches so he went down to the bullpen to throw some more.”
Hisashi Iwakuma made his spring debut for the Mariners, pitching a perfect first inning. Iwakuma, 9-5 in 30 appearances and 16 starts with a 3.16 ERA last year, is expected to replace Hector Noesi in Seattle’s rotation.
“Last year I was more nervous and hesitant,” Iwakuma said through an interpreter. “This year I’m more relaxed and comfortable with one year under my belt. So it was a lot easier for me to adjust to getting back into the game.”
Joe Saunders signed to a one-year, $6.5-million deal on February 12, followed Iwakuma allowed two runs on three hits—all doubles to right field— in his only inning.
Saunders’ cause wasn’t helped by right fielder Morse. After Jonathan Lucroy hit a one-out double off the right field wall, Morse lumbered in to field Alex Gonzalez’s bloop to short right as Lucroy came home. Jean Segura followed with a two-out line drive to right and hustled into second as Morse softly tossed the ball back into the infield.
Blake Lalli homered in the eighth for the Brewers.
NOTES: Axford allowed three runs on two hits and a walk, getting only two outs. . Brewers prospect Hunter Morris, last season’s Southern League MVP, went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, stretching his hitless streak to 13 at-bats. . Saunders is with his third team in the past year. The left-hander started the season with the Arizona Diamondbacks before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles near the trade deadline. . Roenicke said earlier Tuesday that he doesn’t expect to see newcomers Tom Gorzelanny and Michael Gonzalez to pitch before March 1. “If we do (beforehand), fine, but there’s no reason to. They don’t need it,” he said. . LHP Chris Narveson will make his first start on Wednesday since undergoing shoulder surgery last May. Narveson made only two starts last season, allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits and four walks in nine innings.