<
>

San Diego 3, Seattle 2

3/4/2004

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) -- Terrence Long didn't mind being shipped
from Oakland to San Diego. He's got a fresh start, and he's going
to be aggressive with it.

Long hit a two-run homer on his first pitch of spring ball and
Brian Buchanan had a solo shot, leading the San Diego Padres to a
3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners Thursday in the teams' annual
charity game.

Long connected in the second inning, driving the first pitch
from Gil Meche into the grass behind right field.

"The last couple of years at Oakland, I felt I've lost my
aggressiveness and ended up in bad hitter's counts," Long said.
"This year, I'm just going to work on being more aggressive in the
strike zone."

Ramon Hernandez, who arrived with Long from Oakland in an
offseason trade for Mark Kotsay, was aboard after a leadoff walk.

Long is optimistic about his prospects with the Padres. He had a
long talk with Oakland general manager Billy Beane after last
season, and they agreed a change would be good for Long's career.

"Billy was great about the whole situation," Long said. "I've
got all the respect in the world for him. He's always been honest
with me. He gave me another chance to win. You can't argue with
that."

One thing Long won't miss in Oakland is facing Seattle's
rotation.

"Meche has a great arm," Long said. "We faced him a couple
times toward the end of last season and he shut us down. They've
got some great arms over there. I won't have to face them 19 times,
so I'm happy about that."

Meche said he simply left a fastball for Long over the fat part
of the plate. Despite that pitch, he felt good about his
performance. He went two innings, allowing two runs on three hits
with three strikeouts and one walk.

"My main emphasis in camp is trying to get a low strike zone,
even if it means having to take something off to make sure I get
the ball down," Meche said. "In the second inning, I was able to
do that after I gave up the home run."

The Mariners made it 2-1 in the second, when Raul Ibanez doubled
off Ismael Valdez. Ibanez, who also singled in the fourth, scored
when Scott Spiezio doubled off the fence in right.

Buchanan made it 3-1 in the fifth, hitting the first pitch from
Julio Mateo over the fence in left.

San Diego starter Brian Lawrence got the win with one hitless
inning, while Meche took the loss. Eddie Oropesa struck out three
of the four batters he faced in the ninth for a save.

The Mariners loaded the bases with one out in the eighth off
Japanese reliever Akinori Otsuka. Quinton McCracken walked, pulling
Seattle to 3-2, but Willie Bloomquist couldn't beat out a close
play at first when he grounded into a double play.

San Diego missed a chance to extend the lead in the seventh,
loading the bases with no outs against Rett Johnson. J.J. Putz took
over, though, getting a diving catch in foul territory from
Bloomquist and a double play to end the threat.

Skies were cloudy after steady showers soaked the field all
morning, but the rain ended by noon and fans crowded Peoria
Stadium.

The game doesn't count in the Cactus League standings. All money
raised from tickets, concessions and parking is donated to area
charities.

Game notes
After his last name was spelled "Valdes" during his major
league career, the pitcher requested this spring that his name be
switched to "Valdez." He told the Padres that "Valdez" is how
it's spelled on his birth certificate. ... Seattle DH Edgar
Martinez was scratched as a precaution because of the wet weather.
... Mariners LHP Jamie Moyer will throw in Friday's game against
Arizona, facing RHP John Patterson. ... The Padres visit Anaheim's
complex Friday, with RHP Adam Eaton facing RHP John Lackey.