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Mariners 7, A's 1

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Michael Morse picked up where he left off in spring training, blasting two home runs and leading the Seattle Mariners to a 7-1 win over the Oakland A's on Tuesday night at the Coliseum.

Morse launched a three-run shot off A's right-hander Jarrod Parker in the third inning, then added a solo blast off Grant Balfour in the ninth. It was the sixth career multi-homer game for Morse, who led the major leagues with nine home runs in spring training.

Morse's first home run of the night gave Seattle a 3-1 lead. That was more than enough offense for Hisashi Iwakuma. The right-hander held the A's to one run on two hits over six innings and left with Seattle leading 4-1. The Mariners added single runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

A's left fielder Yoenis Cespedes hit a leadoff home run in the second inning, but that's the last damage Oakland did against Iwakuma.

Iwakuma went 0-2 with a 6.14 ERA against the A's last season, his first in the major leagues after 11 in Japan. This time, Iwakuma was in control from the outset. He struck out seven and didn't walk a batter. He threw just 88 pitches, 53 for strikes.

After being blanked 2-0 by the Mariners on Opening Day, the A's have now scored a combined one run in back-to-back losses.

Parker followed a rough spring training with a rough regular-season debut, allowing five hits and four runs over five innings and 95 pitches. He walked three and struck out one. Parker went 4-0 with 2.65 ERA over his final five starts last season as a rookie and finished 13-8.

This is Morse's second stint in Seattle. The Mariners brought him back from the Washington Nationals in a three-team trade -- catcher John Jaso went from Seattle to the A's -- to do exactly what he did Tuesday night, provide some much-needed power.

Although Iwakuma is in just his second season in the major leagues, he's no stranger to the A's. He went 9-5 with a 3.16 ERA as a rookie, opening the season as a reliever then moving into the rotation in July.

In November 2010, the A's made a move to land Iwakuma when he was still playing in Japan. Oakland won exclusive negotiating rights to talk with him after bidding $19.1 million. The A's weren't able to strike a deal during the 30-day window. So Iwakuma remained with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Pacific League -- and the money went back to the A's.

Iwakuma signed a free agent contract with the Mariners in January 2012. After last season, he signed an extension through 2014 with an option for 2015. In other words, the A's can expect to face him often this year and beyond.

NOTES: Seattle's Raul Ibanez made his first start of the season, playing left field, replacing center fielder Franklin Gutierrez. Saunders moved from right to center and Morse from left to right. Gutierrez battled tightness in his legs during spring training, and Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he wanted to both give him some rest and give Ibanez a start. "We do want to make sure we take care of (Gutierrez). That's part of it," Wedge said. "The fact of the matter is you still have to find a way to get Raul in the lineup. So it works both ways. " ... Veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon will start for Oakland against Houston on Saturday, the first day he'll be eligible after finishing a 50-game suspension for testing positive for testosterone last season. A's manager Bob Melvin was asked why he's putting Colon in a game so quickly after his return. "For a lot of reasons, but one, you want to get him started sooner than later," Melvin said. "Two, we'd have to find another place for him to pitch, and three, we just want to get him in there. We had targeted this all along. His spring training was conducive to pitching the sixth game." ... Melvin rarely used the same lineup two days in a row last year, but that's what he did in the first two games this season. "My pen was shaking today," Melvin joked. "Going in we had a lineup that for the most part was playing against righties and one against lefties. So you might see a significantly different lineup tomorrow."
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