OAKLAND, Calif. -- Starting his first game since signing a $175 million, seven-year contract in February, Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez threw a gem Monday night against the Oakland A's.
Hernandez did not allow any runs and gave up just three hits over 7 2/3 innings, leading the Mariners to a 2-0 season-opening win at the Coliseum. He struck out eight and walked just one against the defending American League West champion A's.
Based on recent Opening Day history for the A's and Mariners -- especially with Hernandez on the mound -- the outcome was predictable.
The A's lost their ninth straight season-opener, setting an American League record and tying the major-league record they now share with the Atlanta Braves (1972-80) and New York Giants (1893-1901).
The Mariners, meanwhile, won their eighth season-opener in the past nine seasons.
Hernandez made his sixth Opening Day start -- he tied Randy Johnson for the Mariners' record -- five of those against the A's. He improved to 4-0 overall in those season-openers and 3-0 against the A's, who have lost all five times to the Mariners in Hernandez' starts in that stretch.
A's left-hander Brett Anderson, making his first career Opening Day start, pitched seven strong innings, but took the loss. He allowed two runs -- both earned -- on four hits, all singles, while striking out six and walking four.
Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez gave Hernandez all the support he needed with a two-run single in the fifth.
The A's barely tested Hernandez over the first seven innings. But trailing 2-0 in the eighth, Oakland mounted a two-out rally. Seth Smith ripped a double into the right-field corner, and Eric Sogard walked, bringing Coco Crisp to the plate.
Mariners left-hander Charlie Furbush came out of the bullpen to relieve Hernandez. He walked Crisp, loading the bases. Right-hander Stephen Pryor came on to face right-handed hitting pinch hitter Derek Norris.
After getting ahead 2-0, Norris hit a ground ball to second baseman Dustin Ackley, who stepped on second for the force.
Anderson struck out the first four batters he faced and blanked the Mariners on two hits over the first four innings before they struck for two runs in the fifth.
With one out, Ackley walked. Shortstop Brendan Ryan dumped a soft single to right, moving Ackley to third, and he took second on Josh Reddick's throw.
Gutierrez grounded a hard single up the middle that hit off the mound and shot into center field, scoring Ackley and Ryan and giving Seattle a 2-0 lead.
Hernandez retired the first 10 A's hitters he faced, striking out four, before giving up a one-out double to new A's catcher and former teammate John Jaso, who caught Hernandez's perfect game against Tampa Bay on Aug. 15 last season.
Jaso hit an opposite-field line drive to the left-center gap and barely beat Gutierrez's throw to second. Jaso moved to third on Reddick's ground out to Hernandez, bringing Yoenis Cespedes to the plate. Cespedes hit a hard ground ball up the middle, but Ryan ranged far to his left and threw him out from the outfield grass.
NOTES: Before the game, Hernandez had a Rolex watch delivered to Jaso, a gift for catching his perfect game last season. "Getting to be a part of it is way bigger than this, but this is definitely a really nice gesture," Jaso said. "He really didn't have to. I was really just happy with being behind the plate. He came through." ... A's infielder Adam Rosales, who went on the disabled list March 26 with a strained muscle in his rib cage, said he hopes to be sidelined less than the four weeks initially expected. "I'm hopeful it will be a little bit quicker than that, just from the way I'm feeling now, but I haven't tested it yet," Rosales said. "I haven't taken a swing or anything. Maybe later on in the week we'll get a chance to test it out a little bit. It feels better than I thought it would." ... Mariners outfielder Raul Ibanez, who turns 41 on June 2, experienced his first Opening Day in the big leagues in 1999 with the Mariners in the Kingdome's final season. "When they used to do the lights on the Kingdome floor, it was awesome," Ibanez said. "I'll never forget it." ... Monday night's game at the O.co Coliseum drew a sellout crowd of 36,067.