Yoenis Cespedes shook off the debut jitters and hit his first Major League home run, helping the Oakland Athletics get their first win of the 2012 season (4-1) and splitting the opening series against the Seattle Mariners in Tokyo, Japan. The big news for the A’s is that their offense showed a sign of life after scoring just one run in the first 17 innings of the season.
Cespedes signed a four year, $36 million contract after defecting from Cuba and reaching the United States via the Dominican Republic. He went 1-3 on Wednesday, and had the same number on game 2 as well, just with that home run and 2 RBIs as the bonus.
Ichiro Suzuki was less than magical for the Mariners and the disappointed Japanese fans who came mostly for him. He went 0-4 after hitting four on opening night. Dustin Ackley was equally disappointing, going 0-4 as well. The Mariners did score first off of Justin Smoak’s home run in the 7th, but in general Bartolo Colon completely dominated, allowing only 3 hits through 8 innings before Grant Balfour got his first save of the season.
The Mariners pitching did a good job in general, although that can simply be attributed to poor hitting for most of the game from the A’s, carrying on from last season. Jason Vargas allowed only 2 hits and 1 run in his 6.1 innings, striking out three hitters.
Jesus Montero got his first hit as a Seattle Mariners players, continuing his role as the DH, finishing with 1-3 and striking out once. All of Oakland’s runs came through home runs – Josh Reddick hit one in the 7th as well, the only player with multiple hits on the day, Jonny Gomes hitting another one in the 8th.