It was a night of surprises as the Seattle Mariners opened the 2011 season in Oakland against the Athletics on Friday night. Felix Hernandez took the hill for the Mariners and got off to a rocky start before settling in and reminding us why he was the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner. From there, the offense came to live, jumping up and biting the A’s in the later innings to give Hernandez all the help he needed in a 6-2 win.
The A’s got it started in the bottom of the first as Josh Willingham laced a Hernandez pitch into the seat to give Oakland an early 2-0 lead. But Seattle began crawling right back in the top of the 3rd with a little help from Trevor Cahill. With two outs, Jack Cust walked with the bases loaded, plating Ichiro to cut the A’s lead to one.
The dam broke and the game got hilarious in the 6th as the Mariners took the lead in the most surprising way possible. Ichiro’s single drove in Brendan Ryan to tie the game at two before Chone Figgins showed off his new muscles. After Ichiro was picked off, Figgins ripped a pitch to left, driving it out of the ballpark to give the lead and leaving many Seattle fans laughing in response.
The Mariners tacked on three more in the seventh, capitalizing on a an error by first basemen Daric Barton to plate one run and bringing another home after a bad pickoff attempt by Brad Ziegler.
Hernandez got it done and was impressive as usual, throwing a complete game while allow just those two first inning runs. After that, he looked flat dominant, striking out five and allowing just two hits, both of which came in the first inning.