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Minnesota at Seattle

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Minnesota000010000151
Seattle «30200000x551

Sexson homers twice to send Mariners past Twins

SportsLine.com wire reports
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SEATTLE -- Two at-bats with his new club, two home runs for Richie Sexson. If you'd have made that forecast to Seattle's slugger a week ago, he wouldn't have thought it was possible.

Sexson homered twice and drove in five runs in his Seattle debut, and 42-year-old Jamie Moyer pitched 5 2/3 strong innings Monday to lead the Mariners to a season-opening 5-1 win over the Minnesota Twins.

"Not exactly the way you envision it," Sexson said, smiling. "To do something like that is a little farfetched."

Sexson, given a $50 million, four-year contract to join the Mariners, hit a three-run homer in the first and added a two-run drive in the third, both off loser Brad Radke.

"I never was a free agent, a big free agent especially," said Seattle manager Mike Hargrove, who won his Mariners debut. "I'd have to believe it's tough if you care at all. You don't want to let down the people that signed you, or the people who came to see you play."

Ichiro Suzuki led off the first with a single and Adrian Beltre hit a one-out comebacker, but Radke was charged with an error on his throw to second when he tried for the force. Sexson drove the next pitch an estimated 358 feet over the hand-operated scoreboard in left.

"I don't think it was a bad pitch to throw, but I needed better location -- down and away. I put us in a hole early," Radke said.

Sexson made it 5-0 in the third with a 418-foot drive to the deepest part of the park after Beltre's two-out single. All center fielder Torii Hunter could do was watch as it skimmed over the fence.

"It just scraped over the wall," Sexson said.

Sexson had a slow start with only two spring training homers, but his bat was improving as camp closed. It didn't hurt that he started against Radke, improving to 7-for-25 against him with three homers and 12 RBI.

"He's gotten me out, as well," Sexson said. "He's made me look silly. You saw what he did. He mixed up his pitches really well today."

Moyer, trying to bounce back from a 7-13 season, got the win in his second straight opening day start. He gave up five hits but the only run he allowed was unearned, and he struck out four with no walks, hitting one batter with a pitch.

"I had good location. When I missed, I didn't miss by a lot," said Moyer, the oldest opening day starter in the majors since Charlie Hough worked Florida's opener in 1994 at age 46.

He worked his usual array of sinkers and changeups, and his curveball was especially effective.

"He's been doing it for years," Hunter said. "He doesn't try to strike you out, just keep you off balance and get you out. He knows his game and does it well."

Moyer turned it over to Julio Mateo in the sixth, who combined with Ron Villone and Eddie Guardado for 3 1/3 scoreless relief innings. Guardado, slowed by a strained right hamstring during spring training, pitched a perfect ninth.

"I was nervous," Guardado said. "My stomach was turning a little bit. I felt good, felt like the old Eddie."

Minnesota, coming off its third straight AL Central title, pulled to 5-1 in the fifth on Jason Bartlett's two-out RBI single. Michael Cuddyer scored, but the run was unearned because he reached on a blooper that resulted in a fielding error charged to Seattle second baseman Bret Boone.

Radke made his seventh straight start on opening day, and his club-record ninth. He worked seven innings, allowing five runs -- four earned -- on five hits with five strikeouts, but dropped to 0-3 at Safeco Field, the only AL park where Radke hasn't won.

"Radke settled down," Gardenhire said. "With the exception of a couple of pitches to the big guy, that was it. They got us early."

Opening day was as festive as ever.

Suzuki and Boone were presented their Gold Glove awards from last season, while Beltre received a Silver Slugger. There was a video tribute to the 1995 Mariners, the first Seattle team to reach the postseason.

But the biggest cheers came when former Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez, who retired after last season following 17 years in Seattle, took the mound to toss the ceremonial first pitch.

Notes

  • Sexson became the ninth Mariner to homer in his first at-bat wearing a Seattle uniform, but the first to do so in his first two at-bats.
  • The Twins are 0-3 in openers against Seattle.
  • After a drizzly, cold morning, fans cheered when the roof was opened under mostly clear skies 20 minutes before the first pitch. It was closed during with Seattle hitting in the fourth.
  • Mariners SS Wilson Valdez, who was waived by two other teams last week, was hitless in three at-bats.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Adrian Beltre congratulates fellow new Mariner Richie Sexson, who blasts two homers in the win. (AP)
Adrian Beltre congratulates fellow new Mariner Richie Sexson, who blasts two homers in the win. (AP)

Players of the Game
Seattle

I. Suzuki
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
Seattle

R. Sexson
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 5
 
Minnesota Twins
Shannon Stewart, LF4010011 .250
Jason Bartlett, SS4011001 .250
Joe Mauer, C4010012 .250
Justin Morneau, 1B4000011 .000
Torii Hunter, CF4000011 .000
Jacque Jones, RF3010011 .333
Lew Ford, DH4000022 .000
Michael Cuddyer, 3B3100000 .000
Luis Rivas, 2B3010001 .333
Totals331510710 
Batting
2B - Jacque Jones (1, Moyer)
RBI - Jason Bartlett (1)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Bartlett (1)
SB - Joe Mauer (1, 2nd base off Moyer/Olivo)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Brad Radke (1, Wild throw)
Minnesota Twins
Brad Radke (L,0-1) 7554052 5.14
Terry Mulholland 1000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Brad Radke 89-65, Terry Mulholland 8-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brad Radke 7-9, Terry Mulholland 1-2
Batters Faced - Brad Radke 26, Terry Mulholland 3
Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, RF4120010 .500
Jeremy Reed, CF4000012 .000
Adrian Beltre, 3B3210001 .333
Richie Sexson, 1B3225000 .667
Bret Boone, 2B3000000 .000
Raul Ibanez, DH3000000 .000
Randy Winn, LF3000010 .000
Miguel Olivo, C3000020 .000
Wilson Valdez, SS3000000 .000
Totals29555053 
Batting
HR - Richie Sexson 2 (2, Radke, Radke)
RBI - Richie Sexson 5 (5)
2-OUT RBI - Richie Sexson 2 (2)
CS - Ichiro Suzuki (1, 2nd base by Radke/Mauer)
Fielding
E - Bret Boone (1, Misplayed grounder)
Seattle Mariners
Jamie Moyer (W,1-0) 5.2510040 0.00
Julio Mateo 1.2000000 0.00
Ron Villone 0.2000010 0.00
Eddie Guardado 1000020 0.00
HBP - Jones (by Jamie Moyer)
Pitches-Strikes - Jamie Moyer 95-57, Julio Mateo 17-14, Ron Villone 11-9, Eddie Guardado 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jamie Moyer 7-7, Julio Mateo 2-3
Batters Faced - Jamie Moyer 24, Julio Mateo 5, Ron Villone 2, Eddie Guardado 3
Game Information
Attendance - 46249
Game Time - 2:22
Temperature - 46
Umpires - Home - Bruce Froemming, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt