The moments before the Seattle Mariners home opener were dedicated to honoring the career of Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus.
Sadly, Seattle's performance was all too similar to many of the 5,284 games Niehaus called in his career with the Mariners — a dud.
"You want to come out and make a good statement when you are commemorating a guy like Dave and a sell out crowd," Seattle outfielder Ryan Langerhans said. "It didn't go our way tonight."
Seattle starter Jason Vargas failed to make it out of the fourth inning, when Cleveland sent 14 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs in the Indians' 12-3 rout of the Mariners on Friday night.
It was the worst home-opening loss in Mariners history, with the Indians battering Seattle pitching for 17 hits, while the Mariners went most of the night struggling to get any offense started. About the only good to come from this opener was Langerhans drawing four walks and Ichiro Suzuki adding two more hits and a couple of RBIs to his career total.
"We got behind quick and early and then it was about damage control and trying to work our pitching as best we can," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "That is the tough part of a day like today."
Vargas began 2011 with a strong effort at Oakland, going 6 2-3 innings and giving up just one run. But that promising start was quickly forgotten during a run of Indians hits in the fourth inning that quickly knocked Vargas off the mound.
Vargas was a bit unlucky in the inning as Shin-Soo Choo started the onslaught with a bloop single, Carlos Santana's grounder went off the glove of diving shortstop Brendan Ryan and Hafner scored Choo with a broken-bat single.
But it was Vargas' inability to recover from the rough start that ended his night early. Austin Kearns was hitless in his first 10 at-bats this season, but doubled off Vargas. He finally got Matt LaPorta, but then gave up another single to Jack Hannahan and Wedge had enough.
"Guys started getting on and I started getting behind on a few hitters and it is just tough to turn it around," Vargas said. "Especially when guys are feeling good and they are seeing the hits falling in and going their way."
Rookie reliever Tom Wilhelmsen fared no better than Vargas. A two-out walk to Choo kept the inning going for Santana to add a two-run single and Hafner to hit his second homer of the season, a nearly 400-foot shot that rattled the window of a restaurant in right field.
Hafner's homer alone probably would have been enough against a Seattle offense that continues to struggle. Seattle's team averaged dipped to .226 after Friday's loss — its fifth straight setback — and only Suzuki was able to get more than one hit.
Seattle only made the final score look a little better thanks to a pair of runs in the ninth.
"We are going to have to keep pushing through," Wedge said of the Mariners offense. "First and foremost you want to create opportunities for yourself which we didn't do today."
The day started with nostalgia for Niehaus, who called the first pitch in franchise history, through the end of last season. Niehaus died of a heart attack last November.
But it was fellow Venezuelan Carlos Carrasco that impressed on this night. The 24-year-old Indians starter gave up just one run in six innings and struck out six.
Following Ichiro Suzuki's leadoff single, Carrasco retired 11 of the next 12 batters. Seattle's only run off Carrasco came in the fifth thanks to a hit batter, a walk and Suzuki's RBI single to score Ryan.
"He worked ahead for the most part and even when he didn't he wasn't afraid to throw his secondary stuff when he was behind," Wedge said of Carrasco.
NOTES: Seattle purchased the contract of C Chris Gimenez from Triple-A Tacoma and placed C Adam Moore on the 60-day disabled list Friday. Moore has torn meniscus in his right knee and will have surgery on Tuesday. Gimenez was chosen over veteran Josh Bard because of his ability to play multiple positions. ... Cleveland RHP Fausto Carmona's performance in his second start of the season was quite a change from his outing in the Indians' season opener, when he allowed 11 hits and was charged with 10 runs against the White Sox. In his second game of 2011 Carmona pitched seven innings while allowing only two hits and no runs. he's the first major-league pitcher in 106 years to allow 10 or more runs in his first start of a season and then no runs in his next start, without relief appearances between those games. The last pitcher to do that was a guy named Dick Harley for the 1905 Boston Beaneaters.