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Seattle Mariners beat Oakland Athletics in first game of Japan series

Domingo Santana hits a home run for the Seattle Mariners
Domingo Santana hits a home run for the Seattle Mariners. Pic credit: MLB

The Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics to open the 2019 MLB season. It happened while a lot of people were sleeping, though, as game time in Washington and California was 2:35 a.m. PT.

It led to a lot of jokes on sports shows during the day on Wednesday, with many analysts admitting they didn’t even know the season had begun.

Despite the complaints from analysts and fans, the Mariners and Athletics took the field in the Tokyo Dome.

Marco Gonzales was tabbed as the starting pitcher for the Mariners. He struggled a bit early, giving up two home runs and allowing a number of early hits. Gonzales would settle down, though, going six innings while only allowing three earned runs on the day.

Mariners offense bails out the pitching, fielding

The final score was 9-7 in favor of the visiting Mariners. Domingo Santana, in his first game since being acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers, hit a third-inning grand slam to give the Mariners the lead.

The team wouldn’t look back, tacking on three more runs in the fifth inning to make it a  9-4 lead at the time.

Shortstop Tim Beckham also had a nice Mariners debut, going 3-for-3 at the plate with three runs scored and two RBIs to his credit. He had a fifth-inning homer that looked really nice off the bat.

While the Mariners just managed seven hits as a team, they also took advantage of six walks issued by Athletics pitchers.

Japan series leading to Ichiro Suzuki retirement?

Veteran outfielder Ichiro Suzuki returned to right field for the game. He went 0-for-1 at the plate with a walk and only played four innings of defense.

This was planned, as Scott Servais called a timeout to allow him to leave the field to a standing ovation. Teammates hugged him as he left the field for one of the final times of his career.

Ichiro will play again in Game 2 of the series, but Servais hadn’t yet announced what is role will be for the team. It’s possible that this will be the final time that Ichiro takes the field for the Mariners before he announces his retirement.

The next stop would then be Cooperstown for him.

On March 21, the Japan series will conclude with Yusei Kikuchi on the mound for the Mariners.

The former pitching star in Japan is making his first start for the Mariners, so there will be a lot of eyes on him. Marco Estrada will take the mound for the Athletics, with the start time at 2:35 a.m. PT again.

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