Those worried about Ichiro Suzuki getting taken out of the leadoff spot for the Seattle Mariners this season breathed a sigh of relief in the wee small hours of Wednesday morning against the Oakland A's, as the natvie of Japan got himself four hits in the season opener in his homeland, helping the M's drop the A's by the score of 3-1 in 11 innings in MLB's opener in front of a sellout crowd at the Tokyo Dome.
Ichiro finished 4-5 with an RBI in the 11th, while Dustin Ackley homered and knocked in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning for Seattle. Felix Hernandez got the ND after eight innings of one run ball, allowing five hits and six strikeouts along the way. Tom Wilhelmsen (W 1-0) got the win with his two scoreless innings of relief.
After the game, Ichiro expressed his delight with playing in Japan once more:
"It was very special to open in Japan," said Suzuki, who spent nine seasons in Osaka with the Orix Blue Wave. "I wanted to have fun and give the fans something at this special time and wanted to share a special moment with them."
As for the A's Brandon McCarthy was solid as well in his seven innings pitched, also allowing only one run on six hits along with three strikeouts. Kurt Suzuki had the lone RBI for the A's with a double in the 4th that scored Cliff Pennington.
Jason Vargas will get the start for the Mariners on Thursday, while Bartolo Colon will take the mound for Oakland.