Seattle 2, Cleveland 1
When: 10:10 PM ET, Thursday, March 29, 2018
Where: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
Sam Holbrook, 1B -
Alfonso Marquez, 2B -
Jim Wolf, 3B -
Nelson Cruz cracked a two-run homer Thursday night, and Felix Hernandez tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings as the Seattle Mariners opened their season with a 2-1 win over the visiting Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field.
The Mariners won despite having to place three players on the disabled list and scratch catcher Mike Zunino from the lineup after he injured himself during batting practice on Wednesday. In addition, 44-year old Ichiro Suzuki started in left field, but only after he was cleared to play despite a sore right calf.
Seattle overcame all of it thanks to good pitching and one big swing. After Robinson Cano laced a first-pitch single with two outs in the first against reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, Cruz also tried his hand with the first pitch.
Pouncing on a cutter that stayed over the middle of the plate, Cruz laced it over the wall in left-center, a fitting beginning to a new season after he was presented with a Silver Slugger Award in pregame ceremonies.
Hernandez and five relievers made the lead stick. Hernandez (1-0) permitted just two hits and two walks in his 83-pitch outing, fanning four. Edwin Diaz struck out three in the ninth to garner the save.
Cleveland scored its only run off Nick Vincent in the seventh when Yan Gomes blooped a single in front of new Mariners center fielder Dee Gordon, plating Lonnie Chisenhall. Gordon exhibited some inexperience in his new position on the play, taking a step back before breaking in.
The Indians got the tying run aboard when Edwin Encarnacion was grazed by a 99 mph fastball from Diaz in the ninth. Diaz balked pinch runner Rajai Davis to second and then plunked Chisenhall in the leg. Davis swiped third and Chisenhall stole second, but they were stranded there when Diaz whiffed Gomes on a slider and blew Tyler Naquin away with a fastball to end it.
Kluber was a tough-luck loser despite throwing a complete game. He ceded just six hits over eight innings, walking one and striking out eight in a 91-pitch performance.
--Field Level Media
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