After drawing 30,000-plus to their opening night game, the Oakland Athletics appeared to have barred their gates - the players on the field almost outnumber those in the stands.
Intimate crowd, as they say.
Left-handed pitcher starting for Oakland, Mariners right-handed lineup on the field and Ichiro singled to open the game. Seattle likely won't run as aggressively with a lefty on the hill, but that's just the plan going in. Things change - and Chone Figgins likes to change them.
"I'll run against anyone," he said this afternoon. Believe him.
Anyway, we're underway - Ichiro at first base, no one out.
- Check that. Ichiro picked off first. Figgins down on strikes. Franklin Gutierrez walked to get to Milton Bradley, who struck out. So, one hit, one walk and nothing.
- Two-out error at third base by Jose Lopez, after which Ian Snell hit Kevin Kouzmanoff. Kurt Suzuki popped out. The error cost Snell six pitches.
- Through three innings, Snell has maintained focus in a scoreless game, retiring seven of his last eight batters. He's topped out at 94 mph, hit one batter and walked another.
- Gutierrez doubled with one out in the fourth and, with two outs, Braden balked him to third and wild-pitched him home. That passes as a Mariners rally this year - and it's produced a 1-0 lead.
- Tie game, as Kurt Suzuki homered on a 1-1 pitch in the bottom of the fourth, and Snell is in trouble. After the one-out homer, Eric Chavez singled and Mark Ellis beat out a roller to third. Travis Buck struck out on a 3-2 fastball. Cliff Pennington walked on a 3-2 pitch. Rajai Davis tapped back to the mound - and Snell gets out of it tied, 1-1, leaving the bases loaded with Athletics.
- Braden struck out two more hitters in the fourth and already has a career-high eight strikeouts tonight. He's been Moyer-esque, throwing an 88 mph fastball and then breaking pitches as low as 72 mph. Mariners are not making hard contact.
- Tied after six, this one looks like one to be decided by one bullpen or the other. Oakland has someone warming up behind Braden, no one up in the Seattle pen. Three hits, one run, for each side.
- Lopez singles with one out, takes second on slow chopper by Casey Kotchman. Eric Byrnes - playing in place of Mike Sweeney - flies out to shallow left.
- Shawn Kelley on to pitch the seventh for Seattle. Six good innings from Snell, who threw 100 pitches.
- Ichiro walked with two outs, and to help keep him stuck on first, Oakland went to lefty Craig Breslow. Figgins tried to bunt and popped out.
- Bottom eighth: In to pitch for Seattle, Mark Lowe.
- Top ninth: Closer Andrew Baily on for Oakland. In the Mariners bullpen, Kanekoa Texeira and David Aardsma warm up. If Seattle scores, Aardsma comes in. If not, Texeira will make his major league debut.
- Gutierrez legs out roller to third base. Bradley flied to right field. Lopez flied to center field. Kotchman lined to second base. Texeira coming in to pitch bottom of the ninth.
- One out singlred by Ellis followed by a shattered-bat double from Buck that blooped over third base. Wakamatsu went to the mound and brought the entire infield in to talk. With No. 9 hitter Cliff Pennington up, the infield played in with the outfielders shallow, and Pennington walked to load the bases. Davis struck out out. Daric Barton flied out. Extra innings.
- Bottom 10: Back-to-back one out singles brought Chavez to the plate. He flied out on a 2-2 Texeira fastball. Ellis singled to right-center field, driving in the winner. Oakland 2, Seattle 1.