With the game tied in the bottom of the seventh inning, Cespedes crushed a Shawn Kelly pitch into the Tokyo Dome crowd with Kurt Suzuki on base.
Things didn’t always look pretty for the Cuban defector over the two-game Opening Series in Japan, but it’s hard to argue with his results. He’ll come back to the states having gone 2-for-6 with a double, home run and a pair of strikeouts. His Spring Training debut sent a shock wave through the baseball world, but Cespedes hit .130 with no home runs or RBI in his following seven games.
Last year in Cuba, Cespedes hit .333 with 33 home runs and 99 RBI in just 90 games. He signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the A’s, a surprise move considering he had been linked to the Miami Marlins all offseason and Oakland already had veteran Coco Crisp in center field.
Bartolo Colon was in top form, limiting Seattle to one run over eight innings while striking out six batters. The 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner saved his career with the New York Yankee last year, and hopes a move to Oakland, who plays in the much more pitcher friendly O.Co Coliseum, can help further extend his career.
Colon, who’s from the Dominican Republic, and Australian Grant Balfour combined to hold the Mariners to just three hits. Seattle’s lone run came on a Just Smoak home run.
Jason Vargas was also sharp for the Mariners, giving up one run over 6.1 innings, but the bullpen gave up three runs. Oakland also got solo home runs from newcomers Josh Reddick and Jonny Gomes.
From Game 1 of the Opening Series: Mariners 3, Athletics 1
For more baseball news, check out Rant’s baseball blog, Bringing Heat.