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Mariners

Mariners Fall To Cubs, 7-4

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Jeff Samardzija made a few mistakes with his pitches Thursday night against Seattle. He also made Mariners pitchers pay for a couple of their misguided offerings.

The Cubs’ starter was allowed to bat in an American League park when Chicago chose not to employ a designated hitter, and he delivered a solo home run and RBI single in a 7-4 win.

Set to start on opening day, Samardzija gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings. He struck out seven.

“I threw a couple of pitches up in the zone that they took advantage of,” Samardzija said. “Overall, we’re right there, so it’s good.”

Samardzija has hit two homers this spring.

“If you can save yourself a loss or tie the ballgame up, that’s huge. That speaks volumes down the road,” he said. “And at the end of the year, you look back on it, it might save you a couple of games here and there.”

Alfonso Soriano and Brad Nelson also homered for the split-squad Cubs and David DeJesus had two hits and drove in a run. Nelson’s two-run shot in the eighth off Erasmo Ramirez gave the Cubs the lead for good.

Cubs closer Carlos Marmol pitched a scoreless eighth inning, followed by a scoreless yet somewhat shaky ninth from reliever Kyuji Fujikawa.

The Mariners might have seen what they wanted from starting pitcher Jon Garland and outfielder Jason Bay, two players competing for major league roster spots.

Garland allowed two runs and five hits in six innings and should hear from the coaching staff by Friday whether he has earned a spot in the starting rotation.

Garland’s case might also have been aided by the performance of Ramirez, a starter candidate who was tagged for four runs on six hits in two innings.

“It’s really nothing that we haven’t seen. It’s a veteran guy that works to keep the ball down, uses all of his pitches,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.

Garland has fared well in spring training except for his outing against the Netherlands in an exhibition game last week.

Ramirez had also pitched well until Thursday.

“He did a good job of getting ahead, but he didn’t finish hitters off,” Wedge said. “That’s just something that he has to do a better job with.”

Bay, a former three-time All-Star who signed a one-year contract with the Mariners in the offseason, had three hits and drove in a run. He will play center field again Friday, Wedge said.

Bay is competing with Casper Wells for presumably the final outfield roster spot, and raised his spring training batting average to .371.

Justin Smoak hit a solo homer and a sacrifice fly for Seattle. He is batting .386 in spring training with four home runs and 10 RBIs.

NOTES: Opening day starter Felix Hernandez is scheduled to pitch Friday night for the Mariners against San Diego. Blake Beavan, trying to win a spot in the starting rotation, is scheduled for Saturday against Cleveland with Hisashi Iwakuma, who has a rotation spot locked up, throwing in a minor league game that day. … Three Mariners relievers who are likely to be on the major league roster in April — Oliver Perez, Lucas Luetge and Carter Capps — pitched in a minor league game. Luetge and Capps threw scoreless innings and Perez allowed a run on a hit in 2 2-3 innings and struck out six. … RHP Carlos Villanueva is the scheduled starter for the Cubs on Friday against Milwaukee, with RHP Edwin Jackson scheduled for Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels. … The Mariners optioned OF Carlos Peguero to Triple-A Tacoma and reassigned RHP Carson Smith and INF Nick Franklin to the minor league camp.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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