The Seattle Mariners and Ichiro Suzuki were a hit in Japan for their exhibition matchup in a 5-1 defeat. Ichiro only made one hit in his four at-bats, but received highly positive reaction every time he stepped up to the plate.
Hanshin took the lead in the second on an infield single, and a two run home run off of Hector Noesi. A double and a single scored two more runs to take a 5-0 lead going into the final inning, where Casper Wells puts Seattle on the board with a homer. Seattle's only other real chance of scoring came in the eighth inning, but ground out and struck out with a runner in scoring position.
Seattle players seemed to appreciate the experience. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has more here.
"It was awesome,'' said Michael Saunders, who had a single in the third inning as the Mariners loaded the bases with one out before coming up empty. "It felt like -- I've never seen it before except on TV -- but it was almost like a European soccer game. They're extremely enthusiastic, obviously they have a lot of fun and they take a lot of pride.
"I had a lot of fun. It's good baseball, obviously and they take a lot of pride and have a lot of passion for the game.''
While the Mariners were throwing a regulation MLB ball the Tigers were throwing a Japanese baseball. I was talking to Shawn Kelley before the game when another player handed him one of the balls.
"This ball feels like a rubber ball. That's their game ball? It's like rubber. I have heard this ball isn't going anywhere," he said.
Justin Smoak compared the ball the Tigers used to a high school ball. High seams and soft. Add that to facing pitchers with different repertoires and somewhat strange movements and it wasn't an easy day at the plate.
"I don't know if it was there ball that they used or what but it moved a lot," he said when asked what he saw from the pitchers today. "The first guy had a really good 2 seamer, and the last guy I faced had 8000 twitches and stops before he threw it to the plate. It was a little different but it was good."
To discuss the result with Mariners fans, hit up Lookout Landing.