No one felt more at home in Oakland tonight than Chone Figgins, who was booed even more loudly in the Colliseum than last season in Safeco Field.
The difference? In Seattle's third game of the season, Figgins earned the boos of the home crowd with a night that included three hits, two RBI, a stolen base and a run scored as the Mariners beat the Athletics, 7-3.
Jason Vargas threw 5 1/3 innings and was picked up by relievers Steve Delabar, Tom Wilhelmsen and Brandon League, but Seattle's offense took the spotlight. Thirteen hits? Really?
No, the Mariners didn't produce much power, but they were effective in the clutch. When Oakland bumbled along in the third inning, Kyle Seager made them pay with a two-out, two-run single that gave Seattle a 4-0 lead.
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“They key to the game tonight might have beenSeager’s two-out knock in the fourth inning,” Brendan Ryan said.
“Those kind of hits are separators,” manager Eric Wedge said. “You get a chance to do damage with two outs, you change games with hits there.
“We had a number of guys put up tough at-bats tonight, but that was huge.”
Seager was starting at third base because Figgins started in left field and leading off. Batting .125 through the first two games of the season, Figgins was at .333 when then night ended.
“Figgy was working count, being aggressive in the right spots,” said Ryan, who had two hits. “He was giving us opportunities, and we took advantage of a few of them.”
As for Vargas (1-0, 2.31 ERA), he was hurt only once - a 464-foot home run from Cuban rookie Yoenis Cespedes on a cut fastball. It was the first time Vargas had faced hitters since his March 29th start in Japan.
“I didn’t change much from the first time I faced them in Tokyo,” Vargas said. “I probably threw more changeups, and my cutter wasn’t quite as sharp.”
When lefty Vargas tired in the sixth inning, manager Eric Wedge went with high-octane right-handers Delabar, Wilhelmsen and League, and Oakland scored one run over the final 3 2/3 innings.
Now the Mariners are 3-2 and have Felix Hernandez pitching Saturday.