Grandal backs Kershaw in Cactus finale

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Nelson Cruz went 1-for-3 with a run-scoring double and walk in his second game back after missing five days with the flu.

The Mariners tied the game in the ninth on an RBI double by Ryan Casteel.

Kershaw will kick off the Dodgers season Monday against the Padres after allowing two hits and two walks — all in the first — in his three-inning performance. The three-time National League Cy Young Award winner threw 51 pitches and wrapped up his spring with a 2.63 ERA in seven outings.

“Didn’t really have a good rhythm walking the first batter and there was a lot of stuff that, thankfully, doesn’t count,” Kershaw said of a 33-pitch first inning, which he followed with a six-pitch second inning. “Just trying to find a rhythm and the last couple innings weren’t great, but a little better, I guess.”

Cruz dropped his run-scoring double into right field and Kyle Seager followed with an RBI single while Kershaw also walked two in a difficult first. But he zipped through his final two innings with only an error on Ahmed marring the ledger.

Hisashi Iwakuma, who’ll start Seattle’s second regular-season game at Houston next Tuesday, struggled even more with his command from the outset and walked four in just 1 2/3 innings before being replaced after 52 pitches. The 35-year-old gave up three hits and a pair of runs and things would have been worse had not left fielder Jarrod Dyson thrown Scott Van Slyke out at the plate to end the first inning.

Yasmani Grandal had two hits and knocked in a run. He finished Cactus League play with a .333 average.

“It’s my last start going into the season and you obviously want good results, but that wasn’t the case,” Iwakuma said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. “I had a hard time focusing against the hitters. I was more worried about my mechanics and I couldn’t find my balance at all. So that’s something I need to work on for the next five days.”

Dodgers Up Next: The Dodgers open the three-game Freeway Series against the Angels in Anaheim Thursday night at 7:07 p.m., with Kenta Maeda making his final start of Spring Training. The game can be seen on MLB.TV.

Mariners Up Next: After an off day Thursday, James Paxton is expected to throw 2-3 innings in his final spring start Friday against the Rockies in a 6:40 p.m. PT game that will be broadcast on MLB.TV and ROOT Sports. Dillon Overton, Evan Scribner, Nick Vincent, Marc Rzepczynski, Edwin Diaz and James Pazos are slated for their final spring relief outings.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989 and for since 2001.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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