Published April 15, 2012
SEATTLE – Brendan Ryan hit a two-run homer, Justin Smoak added a solo shot and the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 5-3 on Sunday.
Ryan's homer in the second inning was his first of the season. Seattle's starting shortstop hit three home runs last season, all of them coming on the road.
Snapping streaks was the tone of the day. While Ryan hit his first homer before the home crowd, Smoak snapped a skid of 11 straight at-bats without a hit when he lined a solo homer to right field with two outs in the third off Graham Godfrey (0-2).
Blake Beavan (1-1) threw seven strong innings. His only trouble came in the fifth when the first two batters reached and Eric Sogard followed with a three-run homer.
The Mariners took two of three from the A's, thanks to the long ball and a pair of unearned runs in the fifth inning that snapped a 3-all tie. Brandon League pitched the ninth for his fourth save in as many chances.
Homers are expected to come off the bat of Smoak, who was one of the key pieces in the trade that sent Cliff Lee to Texas during the 2010 season. But Ryan might be the last person in Seattle's lineup expected to go deep.
After fouling off three straight 2-2 pitches, Ryan hit a shot over the hand-operated scoreboard in left field. Ryan circled the bases so quickly there was barely a chance for the crowd to acknowledge the home run.
And it was a two-strike pitch that Godfrey got beat on an inning later when Smoak lined a 3-2 pitch for his second homer of the season.
While the home runs provided highlights, it was Seattle taking advantage of Oakland's defensive mistakes in the fifth that became the difference in the game.
Chone Figgins walked with one out and Dustin Ackley followed with a chopper to second. Instead of making a pivot and overhand throw, Oakland second baseman Jemile Weeks tried to make a back-handed flip and was well wide of the bag. Ichiro Suzuki followed with a double off the wall in right for a 4-3 lead and Smoak got himself another RBI when his tapper back to the mound was initially bobbled by Godfrey, allowing Ackley to score from third without a play at the plate.
That was plenty for Beavan, who struck out four and didn't walk a batter. His only problem was one stretch of three batters in the top of the fifth. Kai Ka'aihue led off with a single and Anthony Recker's jersey was brushed by Beavan's inside pitch, putting two runners on with no outs. Sogard, who had just one hit in his first 11 at-bats this season, then hit his third career homer into the seats in right field.
After the homer, Beavan was terrific. He retired the next three and nine of the final 10 batters before the Mariners went to their bullpen.
NOTES: Oakland has yet to record 10 hits in any of its first 10 games this year. That matches the longest streak in Oakland history to begin a season. ... After playing each other seven times in the first couple of weeks, the Mariners and A's won't see each other again until late June in Seattle. ... Hall of Fame center Bill Russell threw out the first pitch on Sunday as part of the festivities honoring Jackie Robinson. Russell one-hopped his pitch to Chone Figgins, then posed for a picture with the 5-foot-8 Figgins.