There was a point in the fifth inning Sunday when the Mariners had received 12 walks while having made 12 outs. They also had a 10-run lead at the time.
Get the idea?
The Mariners rolled to a 13-2 victory over the San Diego Padres at Peoria Stadium and, combined with Saturday’s 13-3 romp, clinched the campus championship. The two teams play March 27 for the third and final time.
This was more than the Mariners coolly executing their control-the-zone approach. This was also the Padres displaying a sleep-inducing inability to tempt the Mariners to swing.
"We had a lot of long at-bats," manager Scott Servais said. "They struggled to get it over the plate, but we didn’t chase. We stayed with our plan. A lot of good at-bats."
The Mariners managed 11 hits while drawing 11 walks. In contrast, for a second straight game, the Mariners did not issue a walk.
Nelson Cruz opened the scoring once again by hitting a home run. This This one came while leading off the second inning against Padres starter Zach Lee.
Cruz had a three-run homer in the first inning of Saturday’s victory.
The walkfest started in the six-run third inning. Ben Gamel led off with a single before Michael Kelly issued four straight walks.
Bryan Rodriguez replaced Kelly and forced in another run by walking Tyler O’Neill before yielding an RBI singles to Mike Freeman and Shawn O’Malley.
The Mariners got another run on a fielder’s-choice grounder before the inning ended. The lead was 7-0. A two-run fourth made it 9-0.
San Diego broke through with a run in the fifth when ex-Mariners infielder Luis Sardinas delivered an RBI single against Christian Bergman. The Mariners answered with four runs later in the inning.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Home-plate umpire Scott Barry ended the third inning by calling a third strike on Robinson Cano that, let’s say, was borderline. Otherwise, though, the inning might never have ended. The Mariners has already scored six runs while benefiting from six walks.
PLUS: Center fielder Guillermo Heredia made two fine running catches that limited the Padres to one run in the fifth inning…Right-hander Chris Heston, a candidate to front the Triple-A Tacoma rotation, opened the game with two scoreless innings…lefty Dillon Overton, who is also likely Tacoma-bound, followed Heston with two more scoreless innings…left fielder Tyler O’Neill had two walks and a double in four plate appearances…utility candidate Mike Freeman started at third base and went 2-for-3 with two RBIs…switch-pitcher Pat Venditte faced three batted in a scoreless eighth inning and had two strikeouts.
MINUS: Bergman gave up both of San Diego’s runs. He also is a likely candidate for the Tacoma rotation…Heredia was hitless in three at-bats but did draw a walk and had an RBI on a fielder’s-choice grounder.
STAT PACK: The Mariners missed some chances to make it a bigger rout. They were just 4-for-16 with runners in scoring position, and they left 12 runners.
QUOTABLE: Servais singled out Overton for praise after six pitchers combined to limit the Padres two two runs and eight hits.
"I really liked Overton on the pitching side," Servais said. "His change-up was really effective against the left-handed hitters. You don’t usually see that in younger pitchers, but that is his go-to pitch. A real athletic guy who throws strikes. He spun the breaking ball pretty well. For a first outing, pretty darn good."
SHORT HOPS: The Mariners’ lineup contained the 2016 Triple-A International League most valuable player (Gamel) and the 2016 Double-A Southern League MVP (O’Neill)…the crowd of 4,856 was a significant drop from Saturday’s attendance of 6,370…the new scoreboard at Peoria Stadium featured a Safeco Field staple: the hydro race. The Green Hydro blew a late lead to the Red Hydro.
UP NEXT: Left fielder Jarrod Dyson gets his first look at Kansas City as an opponent when the Royals make a 12:10 p.m. Pacific time visit Monday to Peoria Stadium.
Right-hander Yovani Gallardo is slotted for two innings in his first start as a Mariner. Relievers Nick Vincent, Marc Rzepczynski, Dan Altavilla and Jonathan Aro are also expected to pitch. So is starter Rob Whalen.
The Royals plan to start one-time Mariners lefty Jason Vargas. Other scheduled pitchers: Joakim Soria, Mike Minor and Chris Withrow.
The game can be heard on 710 ESPN but will not be carried by Root Sports Northwest.
DAYS LEFT UNTIL OPENING DAY: 35
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners