g1 | extra early start, extra innings end

Mariners 3 | Athletics 1

Of course the most important first was the WIN but, lots of other notable season firsts…

  • First extra inning game
  • Ichiro first hit in his first AB in the 3-hole (and first since KGJ to record 4 hits in an opener)
  • Ackley first homer, first RBI, first run scored, first error
  • Saunders first put out, first stolen base, first GDIP
  • Ryan first double, first CS
  • Miggy first runner thrown out
  • Figgy first sac bunt
  • Felix first K, first ND, first HBP
  • Tom threw the first relief innings – both of the scoreless variety, resulting in his first win
  • Brandon first save

And then there were a couple of rarities…

  • Apparently a Japanese tradition, so only different for the players – the awarding of an MVP after every game – and this game’s deserving recipient ~ Dustin Ackley ~ was awarded with a check for 1 million yen (about $12k)
  • And, there were ZERO walks in the entire game

Brandon McCarthy and the A’s ‘pen was pretty solid… 

he retired 6 of the first 7 batters he faced (5 ground outs and a strikeout). Michael Saunders seemed to get things going in the 3rd with a single on the first pitch he saw and then he swiped 2B – but, the good will was erased when he erred on the base paths – thrown out a 3B when the ball was hit in front of him.  Not to be left out, Brendon Ryan made a base-running blunder of his own when he got a bit too aggressive after a getting on base with a single and then got caught stealing 2B. Figgy was 0-2 in his first AB’s as lead-off guy but, recorded a hit and a sac bunt in his last two ABs. Dustin’s homer and the first run of the game came in the 4th but Ichiro was left stranded after his second hit and McCarthy and the A’s bullpen would leave the M’s hitless until the 11th

As for Felix…

after allowing a lead-off hit to Weeks (who seems to be as annoying to the M’s as a A as Figgy was as an Angel) he went on to retire 9 in-a-row before allowing 2 doubles in the 4th – Carp made a nice diving try for the second one (off Suzuki’s bat – another one of those pesky A’s) but, to no avail and the run scored to tie the game. Speaking of Carp, he was a pretty busy man, especially in the later innings when he recorded a total of 5 put-outs. Over the next 4 innings, it was a bit of a mixed bag for Felix – a couple HBP, a single, a double and a stolen base – but no runs, so he did his job. And, as per usual, a shame he didn’t get the win – thought he would be the first to say what matters is the TEAM win.

And then there was the Bartender…

Tom was GREAT! In his 2 innings of work, in which he would ultimately earn the win (still think that’s a bizarre rule), he allowed one hit but the runner was erased on Miggy’s throw and recorded 3 K’s

Get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in…

Brendon led off the 11th with a double, Figgy bunted him to 3B and Dustin singled him home to give the M’s the lead 2-1. With Ichi batting, Ackley stole 2B and Ichiro singled him home for the third run – and was promptly thrown out trying to take 2B

Brandon came in and quickly recorded a fly out and a strike out…

but, the single he gave up was a bit breath-taking – in that it whizzed right between is glove and his face! But, he was none the worse for wear and a K later, he was shaking Miggy’s hand.

Bottom line good…

Felix was Felix, the bullpen was stellar, the defense was solid, the offense did j u s t enough

Bottom line NOT so good…

the offense is going to have to show more ~ especially the  4-7 hitters ~ who were 0-17

Bottom line obvious…

Japan LOVES their native son (and the Ichi-meter travels!)…

Getty Images

Geoff Baker captured some of Ichiro’s emotion of the evening

And in the end, his most enjoyable moment came when teammates told him how much they apreciated the crowd here. Members of the A’s told him the same thing on the field the many times he reached base.

“Our teammates said that about our fans,” he said. “They said they like the fans here, the atmosphere, the way they approach it that about the atmosphere. And even the players on the other side, the opponents, the A’s, said that, too. So, it’s a good experience.”

Actually, it was something more than that to him.

“To see the fans and how they react and how they welcomed the players, they’re very warm-hearted,” Ichiro said.

“It makes you cry.”