PHOENIX -- Rickie Weeks might finally be living up to his billing as the No. 2 pick in the 2003 draft.
The 26-year-old second baseman had three more hits to push his hitting streak to eight games and 15 of 16, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Seattle Mariners 9-7 Monday.Weeks, whose home run gave Milwaukee a 1-0 victory over San Francisco on Sunday, singled in the third inning, doubled in the sixth -- a ball Mariners center fielder Endy Chavez lost in the sun -- then hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh.Seattle rallied to tie it 7-all in the ninth on Mike Wilson's second home run of the game, a three-run shot.But backup infielder Casey McGehee rescued the Brewers with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.Weeks has been taking extra work with hitting coach Dale Sveum this spring, and it is paying off. He now is hitting .349.If Weeks can continue that and J.J. Hardy can carry over momentum from his strong season in 2008, the Brewers can have one of the most productive middle infield combinations in the National League."Rickie has been playing pretty well all spring," Brewers Manager Ken Macha said.McGehee made his case for a roster spot by hitting his sixth homer of the spring, tying him with Corey Hart for the team lead. He has 15 RBIs and is hitting .370."McGehee just keeps doing it," Macha said.Macha also was pleased with the effort of his starter, left-hander Manny Parra, who gave up three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and struck out four in six innings."Manny Parra had his best outing of the spring. He threw strikes on 70 percent of his pitches," Macha said.Seattle first-year manager Don Wakamatsu also was encouraged by his starter, left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith. The goal of Rowland-Smith, a native of Australia, is to prove he is more than just the only major leaguer with a hyphenated last name.Wakamatsu said Rowland-Smith made a step toward earning the No. 5 starters spot."That is something we're going to have to seriously look at, particularly if he continues to pitch the way he did today," Wakamatsu said.Rowland-Smith gave up two runs on five hits in six innings, including a two-run homer by Prince Fielder in the fifth after Chavez lost the ball hit by Weeks in the sun."If I break camp as a starter, a reliever, or a backup catcher, I just want to be here," said Rowland-Smith, who was 5-3 with 12 starts and 47 appearances for Seattle last season. "The key is staying within myself, not trying to be perfect."
The Brewers optioned infielder Hernan Iribarren to Triple-A Nashville and returned catcher-infielder Vinny Rotino to their minor league camp ... Macha, asked before the game about what his plans are for backup infielders, said, "It's as clear as mud." ... Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki continues to round back into form after playing for Japan in the World Baseball Classic. He had a single in two at-bats and is hitting .417.