The Oakland Athletics salvaged the final game of their season-opening three game series with the Seattle Mariners. After dropping the first two games behind poor defense and a weak bullpen, the A's bounced back behind a strong showing by Gio Gonzalez. The A's starter went seven innings, striking out four and holding the Mariners to one run to get his first victory of the season. Gonzalez found himself teetering in the seventh after putting men on first and second with nobody out. However, after a Jack Wilson sacrifice, Gonzalez forced a soft grounder from Ichiro and struck out Chone Figgins to escape unscathed. Jerry Blevins locked up the final two innings to secure the victory.
On a day in which the A's raised over $65,000 for Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami relief, newly-acquired designated hitter Hideki Matsui busted out of his spring slump, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. His first hit of the game was also his 2,500th hit between his time in the Japanese Central League and Major League Baseball.
The A's offense had struggled early in the season, but was able to take advantage of several Mariners miscues. Milton Bradley and Ryan Langerhans both lost balls in the sun, and both plays led to runs. In the fourth inning, Kurt Suzuki hit one at Milton Bradley that Bradley lost in the sun and left Suzuki on second and Josh Willingham on third. Mark Ellis grabbed an RBI groundout on the next at bat. In the seventh inning Coco Crisp led off the inning with a fly ball to centerfield that Ryan Langerhans could not pick up. The A's ended up scoring four runs in that inning.
Crisp and Mark Ellis were two of the keys in today's victory. Crisp was 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run and came up a homerun short of the cycle. Ellis was 1-for-3 and drove in three runs. He knocked in Josh Willingham twice with a groundout and a single, and then worked a five-pitch walk to score David DeJesus.
The A's now head off on a nine-game road trip to face the Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago White Sox.