OAKLAND -- After months of build up, the pomp and circumstance of Opening Day eventually runs it's course and the game finally gets played. On the first day of the season there are a few things that can be counted on -- big crowds, pre-game pyrotechnics, and aces on the mound.
That was certainly the case in Oakland, as Felix Hernandez out-dueled Brett Anderson in Seattle's 2-0 win. Anderson threw 108 pitches over seven innings and allowed two runs. Hernandez countered with 7 2/3 shutout innings.
"He's a tremendous pitcher, obviously," Anderson said. "175 million dollars worth."
[INSTANT REPLAY: Mariners 2, A's 0]
Hernandez, a Cy Young-winner, is no stranger to starting on Opening Day. He's defeated the A's in the opener four years in a row. Anderson was new to the honor.
"It's exciting, it gets you a little more amped up than the average start," Anderson said. "I had a fairly good top of the first and hoped it would have compelled me to go the rest of the game scoreless."
Anderson struck out the first four batters he faced. He allowed four hits and four walks and struck out six batters. The game ended up being decided by one scoring play. Franklin Gutierrez hit a 3-2 slider thrown by Anderson for a two-run single in the fifth inning. That was all the Mariners' ace would need to lock down the win.
"You're not a competitive person unless you want to go up against those guys," Anderson said. "You're more than likely going to get a tough contest and you go up there and try to match them. I was able to do that for the most part except for that one inning."
The A's bats couldn't answer back against Hernandez. They did have a few chances. In the fourth inning, catcher John Jaso hit a one-out double, but was stranded in scoring position. In the eighth inning, the A's were able to bounce Hernandez from the game after Seth Smith hit a double and Eric Sogard drew a walk. With Hernandez out of the game, Coco Crisp drew a walk to load the bases, but pinch-hitter Derek Norris grounded out to end the inning.
"A lot of times it's one hit, one play, in a game like that when you have two top of the rotation guys and that's exactly what it was tonight," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
The A's ninth consecutive loss on Opening Day ties a Major League Baseball record. It's the seventh time in franchise history the A's have been shutout in the first game of the season.
"It's disappointing to lose on Opening Night," Melvin said. "It's your first look, you have everyone out, the fans were out in full force."