SALT LAKE CITY — Baseball fans were given a rare treat when two Major League Baseball teams took the field at Spring Mobile Ballpark on Saturday afternoon.
The Seattle Mariners defeated the Colorado Rockies, 4-3, in front of 15,411 fans in the first MLB versus MLB exhibition game at the park in 43 years.
“A beautiful place, great crowd, beautiful setting,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of the spring training finale. “We had a great day.”
Aside from the event, the game itself was pretty good, too.
Starting pitchers Brandon Maurer of Seattle and Jeff Francis of Colorado battled through three straight innings of scoreless baseball. Rockies first baseman Todd Helton sent a double to left field to initiate hitting in the second inning, and then Mariners catcher Jesus Montero tripled to right field in the top of the third.
Montero’s hit landed just beyond first base and then rolled foul, resulted in a full-speed collision between Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer and second basemen Josh Rutledge.
“That was two guys on one play,” Weiss said, noting the importance of avoiding injuries as the season starts.
“Rut’s OK. He got the wind knocked out of him; he took a good shot from Cuddy, who’s a big boy. I told Cuddy, if that was the NFL, they would have fined him.”
Both hitters were left stranded, but when the fourth inning opened the home runs started.
Mariners’ designated hitter Kendrys Morales sent a shot to left field to open the scoring, and then Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton responded for the Rockies, adding their own homers to left field in the bottom of the inning to take the lead.
Justin Smoak added a final home run in the top of the fifth inning to tie the score, 2-2. The score held for two more innings before the Mariners added two more runs behind a Raul Ibanez sacrifice fly, which scored Jason Bay, and a Brad Miller double, which scored Mike Zunino.
“Guys are having good at-bats throughout the lineup,” said Smoak, the Mariners’ first baseman. “One through nine, you never know what’s going to happen. A guy’s going to hit a double, a guy can hit a homer; it’s just one of those things, guys are having good at-bats, and if you see a lot of pitches, you’re going to have something to hit.”
Colorado first baseman Jordan Ribera singled to left field to score David Kandilas, but the Rockies could not muster a game-tying run.
Stephen Pryor, the fourth of six Seattle pitchers, earned the win while Rex Brothers, who pitched just the first third of the eighth inning, had the loss for Colorado.
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.