Athletics Blank Mariners 5-0
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Tim Hudson and Ricardo Rincon combined on the Athletics’ first opening-day shutout in 45 years, and Erubiel Durazo drove in all of Oakland’s run in a 5-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
Seattle and Oakland were the final teams to start their seasons. They were supposed to open the year March 25 in Tokyo, but the two-game series was canceled because of the war with Iraq.
Hudson allowed five hits and struck out four in eight innings, getting 16 groundball outs. Rincon struck out two in a perfect ninth.
It was the first opening-day shutout in franchise history since Ned Garver pitched a seven-hitter for the Kansas City A’s to beat the Cleveland Indians in 1958.
Durazo’s normally subdued demeanor was anything but in his Oakland debut.
The designated hitter had a two-run homer and a three-run double for the defending AL West champions.
Durazo, a quiet presence all spring, showed plenty of emotion after his big hits off loser Freddy Garcia.
On the homer, Durazo fiercely clapped his hands as he rounded first, then pumped his fists as he rounded second. After the bases-loaded, fifth-inning double off the top of the wall in left-center that chased Garcia, Durazo punched his leg in joy as he safely stepped on second.
And Ken Macha was also celebrating. Promoted from bench coach when Art Howe left for the New York Mets after last season, Macha won his managerial debut. He waited years for this moment, coming so close to jobs with several clubs before the A’s made him their man.
A sign in left-center read, ``A New Machatude.″
Randy Winn was 3-for-4 with a double, the lone bright spot for the Mariners, who arrived early at spring training in anticipation of opening in Japan.
Garcia, a 16-game winner in 2002, wasn’t sharp after retiring the side in the first inning. He gave up five runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Seattle’s offense also struggled as Bob Melvin lost in his first game as a manager.
Hudson was challenged almost every inning, with Seattle runners aboard, except when he retired the side on three groundballs in the fifth and in a 1-2-3 seventh.
Hudson, who won 15 games last year but was a disappointment in the playoffs, wasn’t even supposed to be Oakland’s opening-day starter _ it was originally AL Cy Young winner Barry Zito _ but Macha changed the rotation when the team didn’t go to Tokyo.
Hudson struck out Bret Boone with a 94 mph fastball in the sixth and the defense was strong behind him all game. Second baseman Mark Ellis made two athletic stops in which he dived and spun to throw out batters at first.
Both Macha and Melvin woke up before 6 a.m. Tuesday in anticipation of the game, then had to figure out what to do all day.
It took Melvin three times to get his lineup card right. On one, he messed up his own signature, and he didn’t include Ichiro Suzuki’s last name on another.
``His last name is supposed to be on there,″ Melvin said. ``I don’t want to get caught on a technicality my first day.″
Notes: Seattle DH Edgar Martinez was in the opening-day lineup for the 13th time, the most of any Mariner. With C Dan Wilson on the DL with a strained oblique muscle, Ben Davis’ start marked the first time in 10 years Wilson didn’t start on opening day. ... Boone was announced as ``Bert Boone″ instead of Bret. He could only laugh as his teammates teased him. ... Attendance was 41,723. ... Mariners SS Carlos Guillen has a left hip strain and was held out of the lineup as a precaution, but is expected to play Wednesday. Mark McLemore started in his place. ... Seattle has lost five of its past six season openers.