Mariners Win Season Opener 3-1 in 11 Innings
The Mariners pulled out an exciting 3-1 win in 11 innings over the Oakland A’s in the 2012 season opener against in Tokyo. Dustin Ackley was named the player of the game going 2-for-5 with a home run and 2 RBI. Ichiro Suzuki tied a Mariners Opening Day record with four hits (4-for-5, RBI) and set the all-time Mariners Opening Day hits record (17). Felix Hernandez was up to his usual self, allowing one run in 8.0 innings, striking out six and not walking a batter. How good has Felix been on Opening Day in his career, well, in five starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA (7 ER, 39.2 IP). Felix recorded the no-decision, but was backed up by stellar relief pitching from Tom Wilhelmsen (W, 2.0 ShO IP, 2 K) and closer Brandon League (SV, 1.0 IP, 2 K).
The Mariners are now 21-15 all-time in season openers, including a current club record 6-game Opening Day winning streak (longest active streak in the Majors). This was also just the fifth extra inning game on Opening Day, and the win improved the record to 4-1 in extra frames in the season opener.
Following the game, there were a lot of good quotes from the players as reported by Mariners.com beat writer Greg Johns:
Ichiro on Playing in front of his home crowd:
“More than the four hits, it was more being able to enjoy the atmosphere with the fans,” Ichiro said through interpreter Antony Suzuki in the cramped Tokyo Dome visitors’ clubhouse. “Being there with the same feelings, that was special to me. That’s what will stay in my heart.”
Tom Wilhelmsen on Ichiro’s performance:
“Welcome home, huh?” said reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, the winning pitcher with two shutout innings of relief. “What a great show for the fans and obviously for us and the team. It’s just amazing. Felix is the king of Seattle and Washington. But this is just something un-Godly. [Ichiro] was just amazing, and I’m happy he was able to get those four hits and put on the show he did.”
Dustin Ackley on his home run:
“The first thing I thought of when I got back to the dugout was that I was leading the Major Leagues in home runs,” Ackley said. “It might be the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life. So to be a part of that and to be a part of this winning team and the game tonight in extra innings, it was awesome.”
Felix Hernandez on pitching in the atmosphere of the Tokyo Dome:
“It was a great win, and it was an honor to pitch here in Tokyo,” Hernandez said. “It’s been unbelievable to be here. Great fans and everything. Everyone worked together and it was a great win for us. And all the fans in the stadium, that was pretty good, man. That was awesome.”
And here are some photos from the Mariners Opening Day win over the A’s provided by the Associated Press: