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2013 MLB Opening Day: Pitcher's Duel Between Hernandez, Anderson

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The Oakland Athletics started the 2013 with a solid pitching performance and yet the visiting Seattle Mariners was even better resulting in a tough loss to start the season for the A’s.

Brett Anderson who only started six games in 2012 due to recovering from Tommy John surgery and then straining an oblique got off to a great start to the season by striking out the side to open the 2013 season and started the second in similar fashion as he struck out Michael Morse.

Brett Anderson
Ezra Shaw- Getty Images

Justin Smoak ended the streak with a walk and it was Kyle Seager getting the first hit of the game by hitting a sharp grounder that caromed off of Anderson’s foot that started a threat, which got quickly ended after a great diving play and flip by Eric Sogard to Jed Lowrie who threw to first to get Jesus Montero.

A couple of double plays saved Anderson from big innings in the third and fourth.  Mariners scored their first two runs of the season on a two-run single by Franklin Gutierrez. The rally got started after Dustin Ackley got hit with a pitch and Brendan Ryan singled into right center field and moved to second on the throw to third.

Franklin Gutierrez
Stephen Dunn- Getty Images

For the Mariners and arguably the best pitcher in baseball Felix Hernandez barely broke a sweat in the first inning getting the first three hitters to fly out.  Yoenis Cespedes broke that streak by grounding out to third to open the bottom of the second.

His first strike out came on a nasty pitch that was nearly in the dirt to Jed Lowrie and the proceeded to strike out Brandon Moss on a similar pitch. It took until the bottom of the fourth for the A’s to get their first hit and base runner in the fourth with a one out double by former Mariner John Jaso.

John Jaso
Layne Murdoch- Getty Images

Like all great pitchers do Hernandez got ahead of Josh Reddick and got him to roll over on a pitch for the second out and Cespedes hit the ball hard towards Ryan who made a nice play to end the inning.

The A’s made Hernandez work in the bottom of the sixth, which upped his pitch count, though did not capitalize on a Seth Smith single to open the inning. Jaso had a great at-bat seeing a number of pitches and eventually struck out on a pitch out of the strike zone.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth Smith doubled and Sogard walked before Mariners manager Eric Wedge decided that he had seen enough bringing in left-handed reliever Charlie Furbush to face Coco Crisp who walked and Derek Norris pinch hit against right-handed reliever Stephen Pryor with the bases loaded. Wedge got the better of the A’s as Norris grounded out to end the threat.

Derek Norris
Thearon W. Henderson- Getty Images

Tom Wilhelmsen came on during the ninth got the first two outs before walking Lowie who got to second on catcher’s indifference. Moss on a 1-2 just missed tying the game up and ended up flying out to end the game.

Anderson went seven innings, giving up four hits, two runs with both earned and struck out six while walking four. Hernandez went 7.2 innings giving up three hits, no runs and eight strikeouts and walking one.

Notes: It was the ninth consecutive loss for the A’s on opening day including losing the last four to Hernandez. Anderson is the first pitcher in Oakland history to strike out the first four batters in an opening day start.

Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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