Oakland A’s(2-3) outfielder Chris Coghlan drilled a one-out homer off Seattle Mariners(2-2) closer Steve Cishek in the top of the ninth to give the visitors a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners and kill the home opening buzz for the home side. A raucous crowd of 47, 065 spectators-the largest to see a regular season game at Safeco Field was giddy and in partying mood as the M’s began the official Ken Griffey Jr. countdown to Cooperstown as part of the opening day festivities.
When said favored son Griffey, threw out the the ceremonial opening pitch, the capacity crowd was drunk with nostalgia and anticipation. Unfortunately for the M’s Cishek’s missed fast ball to Coghlan dashed the M’s hopes of winning a third a consecutive game, staying in first place in the American League West for a few more days. The blown save by Cishek was the first run allowed by the bullpen in 2016 and snapped a run of 11 consecutive innings before the fateful pitch.
“That was just a good piece of hitting on obviously way too good a pitch at that part of the game,” Cishek said after the game, “I was trying to elevate a little more and I didn’t get it up there, and he put a good swing on it. I felt great out there. I just didn’t execute that pitch.”
The Mariners bullpen a question mark going into the season. In 2015 the bullpen was ranked 12th in the AL with a 4.15 ERA. Only the Boston Redsox, Detroit Tigers and the A’s had worse bullpens. The outlook dimmed even more during spring training when the injury bug hit and Right-handers Ryan Cook and Evan Scribner were lost to strained lats and left hander Charle Furbush was shutdown because of tendinitis in his left bicep.
Furbush and Scribner were put on the 15-day DL and could be welcome reinforcement sooner than later if all goes well. Cook’s return will be much longer as he was out on the 60-day disable list. The Mariners moved Mike Montgomery and acquired Nick Vincent (1-0) from the Padres as part of the spring training bullpen revamp.
In addition to the blown save, the Marines torrid late inning hitting came to an abrupt end. The M’s 3-4-5 hitters of Robinson Cano, Nelson and Kyle Seager went 1-12 and stranded five base runners. Starter pitcher Taijun Walker had a decent night, giving up seven hits, 2 earned runs, and striking out four batters in seven innings. A’s starter Eric Surkump allowed four hits over 4 2/3 innings in his first Major League appearance since 2013.
Left-hander Rich Hill will be on the mound for the A’s on Saturday for game two of the three game series while Right-hander Nathan Karns will do the same for the Mariners.