A's beat Seattle 4-1 to split Tokyo series

Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:46am EDT
 

By Alastair Himmer

TOKYO (Reuters) - Yoenis Cespedes drilled a two-run home run as the Oakland Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 4-1 on Thursday to split their two-game MLB season-opening series in Tokyo.

The Cuban defector crunched a line drive to left centre in the bottom of the seventh for his first home run in the majors after Justin Smoak had blasted a solo homer in the top of the inning to give Seattle the lead.

Josh Reddick added an insurance run with a towering shot to the right-field seats on the next pitch and Jonny Gomes tacked on another in the eighth with a long ball to centre field.

"That was a big, big hit and I'm so happy to hit a home run," Cespedes, billed as one of the best players to come out of his country in a generation, said in a field interview.

"It was like a dream come true. I dedicate that homer to everyone in Japan."

The A's were beaten 3-1 in extra innings in Wednesday's curtainraiser, extending MLB's longest active opening-day losing skid to eight years, the worst since 1992.

Bartolo Colon picked up the victory for Oakland, pitching eight innings, limiting Seattle to one run on three hits, with six strikeouts.

"He's the perfect guy to pitch after we lost a tough game last night," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "I'm not sure he has a pulse. My heart was beating a lot faster than his was."   Continued...

 
Oakland Athletics' Yoenis Cespedes (R) celebrates with teammate Josh Reddick after hitting a two-run homerun against Seattle Mariners' pitcher Shawn Kelley during the seventh inning of their second baseball game of the MLB American League season opening series in Tokyo March 29, 2012. REUTERS/Toru Hanai