March 29, 2012
Athletics gain split with Mariners
By SPORTS NETWORK
TOKYO - Yoenis Cespedes belted his first career homer to put Oakland on top and Bartolo Colon threw eight strong innings, as the Athletics gained a split of the two-game season-opening series against Seattle with a 4-1 victory at the Tokyo Dome.
Josh Reddick and Jonny Gomes also homered for Oakland, which bounced back from a 3-1 loss in 11 innings in Wednesday's opener.
Colon (1-0) limited Seattle to three hits, including Justin Smoak's solo homer, and struck out six while walking only one in his Oakland debut.
Jason Vargas started for the Mariners and did not factor into the decision, as he was lifted after 6 1/3 innings. The lefty was charged with a run on two hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Vargas exited the contest with one on and one out in the seventh, leading 1-0, and Shawn Kelley (0-1) retired Kurt Suzuki on a ground ball before Cespedes drove a pitch over the wall in left-center field to put the Athletics ahead.
Cespedes signed with Oakland earlier this month after defecting from Cuba. He was 1-for-3 with a double in his big league debut on Wednesday and was again 1-for-3 on Thursday.
Reddick, acquired from Boston as part of the Andrew Bailey trade in December, followed Cespedes with a homer off George Sherrill to make it 3-1.
Gomes tacked on a run with an eighth-inning blast off Steve Delabar to account for the final margin and Grant Balfour worked a perfect ninth to earn his first save.
Colon, meanwhile, was brilliant. Signed to a one-year deal in January after a solid 2011 season with the Yankees, the former Cy Young winner retired the first 13 batters before Jesus Montero singled through the right side of the infield with one out in the fifth.
Miguel Olivo singled with two outs and Michael Saunders drew a walk to give Seattle a mild threat, but Colon induced a ground ball from Brendan Ryan to keep the game scoreless.
Colon did not pitch in the majors in 2010, but returned last season with the Yankees and posted a record of 8-10 with a 4.00 earned run average in 29 games, including 26 starts.
Vargas, who was 10-13 with a 4.25 ERA last year, was just as good early. He gave up a one-out single to Cliff Pennington in the first, then did not allow another baserunner until Reddick's two-out double in the fifth.
Seattle finally broke through when Smoak led off the seventh with a home run.
The Mariners made a roster move before the game, placing outfielder Mike Carp on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right shoulder. He was hurt diving for a Suzuki double in Wednesday's opener. Seattle recalled outfielder Carlos Peguero from Triple-A Tacoma...Seattle superstar Ichiro Suzuki, cheered each time he came to the plate in his home country, was hitless in four at-bats after a 4-for-5 performance in the opener...The teams combined to strand just seven runners in a swift game that was completed in just 2:23.