OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—David Aardsma was a big-time closer at Rice University, helping the Owls win a national championship. He figured he’d do the same thing in the majors.
Five years after making his big-league debut, he finally got the chance and converted it.
“I put him in a situation that’s not easy,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “Two-inning saves are not easy to get.”
“I’m most happy that I did my job,” Aardsma said. “I felt like this was my first ever real opportunity. It feels good.”
Aardsma came into the dugout after a perfect eighth and Wakamatsu asked him if he could go another inning.
“No matter what happens, you’re always going to say yes,” Aardsma said. “It’s one of those things I thought I’d become a lot earlier than this.”
Anderson (0-1) allowed five runs on seven hits in six innings in his big league debut. He walked two and struck out two.
“It looked worse than it was, but I still have to eliminate the big inning,” Anderson said. “It got a little out of hand.”
The Mariners got six consecutive hitters on base in the second, and Betancourt and Chavez each drove in a pair while Johjima singled home a run. Chavez has hit safely in each of the first five games.
“It was a big night for the club,” Wakamatsu said.
Anderson, who pitched for Team USA in last summer’s Olympics, retired nine of the next 10 hitters he faced to keep the A’s close.
“He pitched a pretty good game really,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “He didn’t pitch that poorly even that inning. With any luck, maybe he gets out there giving up a run or two.”
Rowland-Smith lasted 3 1-3 innings, giving up two runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out one, and had a string of eight consecutive quality starts snapped with the shortest of his career.
The A’s scored their first two runs on errors, Seattle’s first of the season. Cabrera scored from first when Rowland-Smith committed a throwing error on Jason Giambi’s slow bouncer in the first, and Jack Cust led off the second with a double and reached third on Adrian Beltre’s throwing error. He scored on Cabrera’s sacrifice fly.
Russell Branyan had two hits for the Mariners.
In lieu of the traditional ceremonial first pitch, the A’s presented a tribute to the four Oakland police officers killed in the line of duty last month. Officers Mark Dunakin, Ervin Romans, Daniel Sakai and John Hege, who were also security guards at the Coliseum, were honored by having their caps placed on the pitcher’s mound, a ball alongside each one, for a silent tribute. The ceremony involved over 50 Oakland officers. … OF Ichiro Suzuki was 5-for-10 in controlled games played at the Mariners’ spring training complex in Arizona and is expected to join the team in Seattle on Monday. … Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu attended high school in nearby Hayward and played both his final prep football and baseball game at the Coliseum. … Anderson became the first rookie to start the home opener in Oakland history. … Endy Chavez recorded his 30th career 3-hit game.