Make that a seventh Opening Day win in a row by the Mariners, hanging on tonight for the 2-0 victory behind the arm of Felix Hernandez. Both teams had their aces going tonight and it showed.
Hernandez allowed just three hits over 7 2/3 innings, struck out eight batters and walked only one. Brett Anderson gave up just four hits — with few balls ever leaving the infield — but got done in by a heads-up running play by Dustin Ackley and Brendan Ryan in the fifth.
With Ackley on first base, Ryan blooped a single to right field. Ackley never broke stride in heading for third and it’s a good thing because had he hesitated even a half-step, right fielder Josh Reddick would have nailed him.
Instead, Ackley barely beat the throw and Ryan alertly moved on up into scoring position.
Franklin Gutierrez then singled to score both and that was the game.
Well, it almost wasn’t the game actually. With two on and two out, Hernandez was pulled at 109 pitches in the eighth. Charlie Furbush came on and walked the bases loaded, but then, when the A’s pinch-hit for John Jaso with righty Derek Norris, Eric Wedge countered with right-handed reliever Stephen Pryor.
After getting off to a 2-0 count, Pryor got a foul ball for a first strike, then a groundout to second base. Everybody exhaled and it was Tom Wilhelmsen time an inning later. The Mariners take this first game despite striking out 10 times and barely generating any offense.
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