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April 6, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Mariners at Oakland Athletics in season opener Part II

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What a job by Steve Delabar to get five consecutive outs to carry the Mariners to the eighth inning. Oakland added a run in the eighth off a not-go-good-looking Tom Wilhelmsen to make it a 7-3 game, but the M’s still lead it with three outs to go. Wilhelmsen rallied for a pair of late strikeouts on Yoenis Cespedes and Kurt Suzuki to keep a serious-looking jam from costing any more runs.
Delabar had replaced Jason Vargas with two on and one out in the sixth inning and Cespedes up. Cespedes had earlier clubbed a 462-foot homer — longest in the majors this season – but Delabar struck him out with a high fastball clocked at 95 mph.
We’ve seen three hits by Chone Figgins tonight. The top and bottom parts of the order are getting the job done for Seattle.
9:05 p.m.: Earlier today, we discussed three guys — Michael Saunders, Kyle Seager and Chone Figgins — who needed to get off to a quick start at the plate this season for a variety of reasons. Well, they each have two hits tonight and the M’s lead it 7-2 as we head to the bottom of the sixth.
Saunders led the top of the sixth off with an infield single, followed by a Brendan Ryan single that put runners at the corners. Figgins then placed a perfect bunt to the right side between relief pitcher Jordan Norberto and first baseman Kila Ka’aihue to bring Saunders in with an infield single.
Dustin Ackley loaded the bases with a single of his own and Ichiro hit a sacrifice fly to center field. Ryan barely made it home in time and almost left the third base bag early. But a poor throw from center fielder Yoenis Cespedes gave Ryan just enough time to make it in with a foot-first slide.
8:40 p.m.: The Mariners added to their lead in the fourth when Michael Saunders doubled, then scored on a single by Chone Figgins. But the A’s answered in the bottom of the inning when Yoenis Cespedes cobbered a Jason Vargas pitch over the center field wall for a two-run blast that makes it a 5-2 game.
Vargas had retired nine in a row before a two-out walk ahead of the homer.
7:58 p.m.: Just what the Mariners needed there, putting a four-run third inning together off Brandon McCarthy to take a 4-0 lead. The Mariners loaded the bases with none out thanks largely to a throwing error on a Chone Figgins bunt, which brought Brendan Ryan home to score. They scored again on a sacrifice fly to right by Jesus Montero, but McCarthy nearly got out of it with limited damage done until Kyle Seager delivered a two-out single up the middle to score another two markers.
That Seager hit a huge difference in this game. At 2-0, the A’s could still make a game of it any second. At 4-0, the M’s have a serious edge because this Oakland offense isn’t very good.
6:52 p.m.: They are introducing the lineups, reservists, clubhouse attendants, assistant massage therapists and everyone else here in Oakland. No, I’m not kidding. This pre-game ceremony could take a while.
We’ve done the Opening Night bit already, looked at the team for another week of spring training, analyzed the pros and cons and costs and all that. Now, there’s only one thing left. For the Mariners to go out and play ball.
As usual, follow on here as well as my @gbakermariners Twitter account.


The lineups:
MARINERS
LF Chone Figgins
2B Dustin Ackley
RF Ichiro
1B Justin Smoak
DH Jesus Montero
3B Kyle Seager
C Miguel Olivo
CF Michael Saunders
SS Brendan Ryan
LHP Jason Vargas
ATHLETICS
2B Jemile Weeks
LF Coco Crisp
RF Josh Reddick
DH Jonny Gomes
CF Yoenis Cespedes
C Kurt Suzuki
3B Josh Donaldson
1B Kila Ka’aihue
SS Cliff Pennington
RHP Brandon McCarthy

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

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