Mariners Lose Home Opener, 4-0

SportsFootballSeattle MarinersKen Griffey Jr.Edgar MartinezIchiro SuzukiCy Young

Justin Duchscherer was terrific in his secondstart in 20 months, pitching into the eighth inning to help theOakland Athletics ruin the Seattle Mariners' home opener with a 4-0victory on Monday.

Cliff Pennington homered and Gabe Gross had a two-run single forOakland, off to a surprising 6-2 start.

Duchscherer (1-0) allowed two hits and walked two in 7 1-3innings. The right-hander, a two-time All-Star, missed last seasonbecause of an elbow injury and was later treated for clinicaldepression.

Former Mariners star Randy Johnson sent a charge through theSafeco Field crowd with a ceremonial first pitch but Seattle stilldropped to 2-6 after entering the year with playoff aspirationsfollowing a splashy offseason. It's the Mariners' worst start sincebeginning 1-7 in 2004.

Ryan Rowland-Smith (0-1) allowed just three hits in seveninnings for Seattle, but issued a career-high five walks andallowed four runs.

The 32-year-old Duchscherer didn't make his spring debut untilMarch 22. Then he allowed five runs and seven hits over 5 2-3innings in a no-decision last week against Seattle, a game that theA's won late.

His second start since Aug. 18, 2008, was even better. He twicestruck out Ken Griffey Jr., the second time with the tying run onthird in the fourth inning.

Only one other Seattle runner got past first base on Duchschererafter that.

Duchscherer was an All-Star in 2005 and '08 before the problemswith his back, hip, elbow and depression. He's still on an amendedtraining schedule designed to preserve his back.

Rowland-Smith didn't allow a hit until the sixth - and it hurt.Pennington, the No. 9 hitter, lined an 0-2 pitch over the roof ofOakland's bullpen bench for his second homer of the season.

Pennington's drive made it 2-0, a considerable deficitconsidering the way Seattle has hit so far this season. TheMariners, who were averaging three runs before Monday's game, hadjust three baserunners and one hit in the first six innings.

Oakland added two more in the seventh. With two out and runnerson second and third, catcher Rob Johnson could not hold on to atwo-strike foul tip by Gross. Given the reprieve, Gross celebratedhis first start with the A's by driving in two with a single.

Randy Johnson got a warm welcome from the sellout crowd of45,876 before he fired a strike to his former Mariners catcher, DanWilson, minutes before the game.

The 46-year-old Big Unit, a five-time Cy Young Award winner whorose to prominence with Seattle in the 1990s, looked tanned andrelaxed in a black, open-collared shirt and jeans. He tossed theball about 20 rows back into the lower seats behind the Marinersdugout as he walked off the field with Griffey, Wilson, and fellowformer teammates Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner.

The crowd roared - for one of the last times of the day.

NOTES: Mariners RF Ichiro Suzuki received his ninth consecutiveGold Glove trophy and his third career Silver Slugger bat beforethe game. ... A's manager Bob Geren said 2B Mark Ellis might misstwo days with a strained hamstring. He was injured Sunday againstthe Los Angeles Angels. ... The Mariners announced OF RyanLangerhans had cleared waivers and was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.

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