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Paxton continues to impress with scoreless outing

Seeking rotation spot, young Seattle lefty has yet to allow a run this spring

Paxton continues to impress with scoreless outing

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners southpaw James Paxton continued his push for a starting job as he threw three scoreless innings on Wednesday, but the Indians rallied to pull out an 8-5 victory at Peoria Stadium.

In the ninth, Cleveland's Francisco Lindor broke a 5-5 tie with a pinch-hit RBI double off Seattle righty Danny Farquhar, followed by Carlos Moncrief's RBI triple and Ryan Rohlinger's RBI single.

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Cleveland designated hitter Ryan Raburn went 2-for-3 and hit a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh as the Indians rallied from a 5-1 deficit. Raburn's second homer of the spring came on the heels of a double by David Adams and triple by Elliot Johnson off Seattle reliever Lucas Luetge.

The Mariners are 6-2 in Cactus League play and their starters have allowed just two runs in 18 2/3 innings for a 0.96 ERA.

Paxton, 25, looked very good in four starts as a September callup last season and has picked up where he left off with five shutout innings in two outings this spring. Paxton held the Indians to two hits with no walks and one strikeout while throwing 45 pitches.

"That's more pitches than I'd like to throw in a regular season three innings," Paxton said. "The first inning was a little long for me, but that third helped me a little getting some ground balls and getting out of there fast. Overall, I think it was pretty good."

Cleveland improved to 6-1 with the win while playing a lineup consistently mostly of backups. The Mariners sent 10 batters to the plate in the first, scoring four runs off Indians starter Travis Banwart, including a leadoff home run by center fielder Abraham Almonte.

Banwart lasted just two-thirds of an inning before hitting a 35-pitch limit and being replaced by lefty Nick Hagadone. Banwart, a Triple-A pitcher on a non-roster invitation, gave up a homer, double, single and walk before striking out two batters with the bases loaded.

Hagadone then replaced him and walked in one run and then allowed a two-run single by shortstop Nick Franklin before finally ending the damage. All four runs in the inning were charged to Banwart, who pitched for Triple-A Sacramento in the A's organization last year.

Cleveland got on the scoreboard in the fourth against Mariners right-hander Brandon Maurer, with Jeff Francoeur ripping a leadoff double and eventually scoring on a double-play grounder by Matt Carson.

Maurer, making his spring debut after missing a week with a stiff back, threw two innings and gave up the one run on two hits while also hitting two batters.

Up next: Veteran right-hander Scott Baker gets his second start of the spring on Thursday as the Mariners travel to Glendale for a 12:05 p.m. PT game with the White Sox. Baker, 32, threw two scoreless innings with one hit in his debut against the Angels on Saturday and is making a strong bid for a rotation spot as a non-roster invitee. Closer Fernando Rodney is slated to make his first spring appearance in relief, with Roenis Elias, Tom Wilhelmsen, Zach Miner and Logan Bawcom also scheduled for an inning. The live radio broadcast of the game will be available for free in an exclusive webcast on mariners.com.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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