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March 28, 2012 at 5:37 AM

Mariners at Oakland Athletics: season opener from Japan

Well, we all know Felix Hernandez won’t get the win tonight, despite eight innings of one-run ball. We’re tied 1-1 after nine innings, so we’re on to the 10th.
Both teams saw strong plays in the field in the ninth to help get us to where we are now. Jemile Weeks had to range to his left to sag a grounder that hopped high off the first base bag. Weeks then made a perfect shovel pass to first base to nab Justin Smoak by a step.
Josh Reddick unloaded a shot to left off newly-installed reliever Tom Wilhelmsen in the bottom of the frame. But Mike Carp got back on it, leaped at the wall and made a nice catch to spare at least a one out double.
Not much offense tonight by either side. I think we’ve been down this road before.
4:40 a.m.: Nice work by Felix Hernandez to get out of the sixth nning still tied 1-1. A leadoff single by Cliff Pennington was followed by a stolen base. Pennington then took third on a flyout with only one down and Mariner nemesis Kurt Suzuki up.
But Suzuki popped out to shallow left with Brendan Ryan making the tough play. Josh Reddick then got the barrel of the bat on the ball, but line out to Mike Carp in left to end the inning.
4:12 a.m.: Felix Hernandez won’t be happy with himself on two counts after that fourth inning. The first reason is, he allowed a run right after his team scored. Hates that. No. 2, the run came with two out on a Kurt Suzuki double to left field past a diving Mike Carp. That scored Cliff Pennington, who’d led things off with a double. We’re tied 1-1.
The M’s should just walk Suzuki in any key situation. Him and also Nelson Cruz when they play the Rangers.
4:03 a.m.: The Mariners just got on the board in the fourth and now lead the majors in home runs — bet we’ll be saying that all season, huh? — as Dustin Ackley led off with a shot over the wall in right center off Brandon McCarthy.
So it’s a 1-0 lead for Seattle. Ichiro ignited the crowd with his second infield single of the night — that altered batting stance and swing really transforming his game — and made it to second with one out. But flyouts by Jesus Montero and Mike Carp ended the inning.
3:52 a.m.: Seattle went 1-2-3 so quickly in the second inning that I didn’t even have time to unwrap my bento box. The third inning began better, with a hard single by Michael Saunders, but then — after stealing second — he was thrown out at third on a ball grounded to the left side. Cliff Pennington had to go to the hole at shortstop for it, but still, not the best way to get thrown out.
Brendan Ryan took first on the fielder’s choice, then broke for second with Chone Figgins looking like he might bunt. But Figgins didn’t bunt and Ryan was D.O.A. at second.
The good news? Felix Hernandez is rolling. That’s nine in a row retired by hi, with four K’s already. Still scoreless after three.
3:28 a.m.: Felix Hernandez gave up a line drive single to center by Jemile Weeks to lead the game off, but then got a flyout, groundout and a strikeout on Seth Smith to end the first inning scoreless.
3:19 a.m.: After two quick groundouts to start the game, Ichiro came to bat with flashbulbs popping. And he didn’t disappoint, notching an infield single off the glove of Brandon McCarthy. Ichiro then broke for second — causing a crowd stir — but Justin Smoak fouled the pitch off. Smoak fouled another ball off and the crowd roared momentarily on that as well, They sure are excitable over here. The inning ended moments later on a strikeout.
2:42 a.m.: Felix Hernandez takes the mound on Opening Night here in Tokyo, Japan, and the middle of the night in Seattle.
The Mariners have looked awful in two exhibition games here, but they don’t matter any more.
Those of you who want to chat, I invite you to ask questions on my @gbakermariners Twitter feed.
As always, stay tuned right here on the blog for the rest. In some roster-tidying moves earlier today, the Mariners placed both Franklin Gutierrez and Adam Moore on the 15-day DL.

The lineups:
3B Chone Figgins
2B Dustin Ackley
RF Ichiro
1B Justin Smoak
DH Jesus Montero
LF Mike Carp
C Miguel Olivo
CF Michael Saunders
SS Brendan Ryan
RHP Felix Hernandez
2B Jemille Weeks
SS Cliff Pennington
LF Coco Crisp
DH Seth Smith
C Kurt Suzuki
RF Josh Reddick
CF Yoenis Cespedes
1B Brandon Allen
3B Eric Sogard
RHP Brandon McCarthy

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins, Jesus Montero


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