Ramirez stays strong in start vs. Giants

Ramirez stays strong in start vs. Giants

Ramirez stays strong in start vs. Giants
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Giants are hoping that shortstop Brandon Crawford can add some offensive prowess to his already-stellar defensive game. The Mariners are wondering if 21-year-old right-hander and Spring Training surprise Erasmo Ramirez has the goods to make the Opening Day roster.

Both questions might have inched closer to being answered Thursday night in San Francisco's 7-5 win over Seattle at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Crawford, who has struggled against left-handed pitchers, belted a key two-run home run off southpaw Hong-Chih Kuo in the sixth inning, capping a three-run inning that put his team up for good.

"He's worked on shortening up his swing and he's getting results," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We know it's Spring Training, but it's nice to see him swing the bat."

Meanwhile, Ramirez, who is still in the running for a bullpen or starting role, worked out of trouble and battled command issues en route to a four-inning, one-run performance in a spring that continues to impress his team's brass.

Ramirez's night started off shaky. He gave up a leadoff single to Gregor Blanco, who moved to second on an error by Mariners right fielder Mike Wilson. Brett Pill hit a two-out RBI double to put San Francisco up, 1-0, but Ramirez curtailed the scoring there.

"He's shown us everything he needs to show us," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We've seen him as a starter, we've seen him in the bullpen, and we'll be able to see him at least one more time. Everything that I've heard about him, because I haven't really seen him before this spring, is what we've seen. It's pretty impressive."

Giants starter Barry Zito had a good night, too, giving up two runs in four innings. Both runs came in the third inning, when Zito walked Casper Wells with one out and then gave up a two-run home run to left field off the bat of Mariners first baseman Mike Carp. Otherwise, the veteran lefty gave up four hits and struck out four while walking two.

The Giants opened up the floodgates in the sixth off the struggling Kuo, with Nate Schierholtz singling in a run to tie the score at 2 before Crawford hit his first homer of the spring, a towering shot onto the grass beyond the right-center-field wall.

The Giants added three more runs in the seventh against Seattle reliever George Sherrill. Brandon Belt singled in a run and Roger Kieschnick drove in two more with a base hit. The Mariners cut the lead to 7-5 in the bottom of the frame on a Wells sacrifice fly and a Carp RBI fielder's choice.

Giants up next: Left-hander Eric Surkamp, who still has a chance at securing the fifth starter's spot if Ryan Vogelsong isn't ready to begin the season, will oppose Cubs right-hander Matt Garza at Mesa, Ariz., on Friday. Expect Buster Posey, who served as designated hitter Wednesday and rested Thursday, to be behind the plate.

Mariners up next: The Mariners will have another long day Friday, when they embark on a split-squad journey to Tucson to take on the Brewers at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium at 1:05 p.m. PT. Felix Hernandez, who gave up two runs on four hits in four innings in his last spring start Sunday, will start and will be followed on the mound by Cesar Jimenez, Matt Fox, Josh Kinney and Lucas Luetge. The Mariners also will play the Oakland A's at home in Peoria at 7:05 p.m. PT, with Hisashi Iwakuma getting the start. Steve Delabar, Shawn Kelley, Aaron Heilman and Sean Henn are also scheduled to pitch.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB and read his MLBlog, Youneverknow. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.