The hot corner will have a different look in 2010, as Kevin Kouzmanoff takes over the position from…
Defense Fails A's On Opening Night
With the game tied 3-3 with two outs in the top of the ninth, the A's called on reigning AL Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey to face Chone Figgins with runners on first and second and two-outs. Bailey got Figgins to ground into what looked like the final out of the inning, but Kouzmanoff's throw pulled A's first baseman Daric Barton off of the bag for an error, loading the bases. Casey Kotchman followed the error with a bloop hit into centerfield to drive-in the two game-winning runs.
The Oakland offense was, for the most part, dominated by King Felix and the Seattle bullpen. The A's managed to hit only one flyball and three line-drives the entire game, grounding out 19 times including four double-plays. The A's hit only five balls into the outfield the entire game. Oakland also struck-out six times. However, the A's walked seven times and were able to drive-up Felix's pitch count to 101, causing him to be lifted in the seventh inning, igniting the A's comeback.
Four double-plays killed the A's momentum, however. Ryan Sweeney and Kouzmanoff each hit into two double-plays, and Kouzmanoff's second double-play came at a critical moment, when the A's had runners at first and second with no-outs in the bottom of the eighth inning with the game tied at three.
Ben Sheets had an uneven start in his Oakland debut. The right-hander allowed single runs in each of the first three innings before settling down to throw two scoreless frames. Sheets finished the start having allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits with four walks and three strike-outs. He also allowed a solo homerun by Rob Johnson.
Jerry Blevins took over for Sheets in the sixth inning and was outstanding in his 2010 debut. The lefty tossed two scoreless and hitless innings, walking two but striking out three. Craig Breslow recorded two outs in the seventh inning before yielding to Brad Ziegler with a runner on and two outs. Ziegler got the third out in the eighth, but his one-out walk to Johnson in the ninth ignited the Mariners' game-winning rally.
* Kurt Suzuki had two throwing errors in the game. He had five errors all of last season.
* Casey Kotchman drove-in four of Seattle's five runs, two of them coming on the game-winning hit in the ninth.
* Daric Barton also had an error in the game. He led the A's offense by reaching base three times, all on walks.
* Cliff Pennington and Rajai Davis combined to collect four of the A's five hits and drive-in two of the A's three runs.
* The A's only flyball out came in the ninth inning against David Aardsma.
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