McCarthy gets season started in Japan

The 2012 Major League Baseball season began halfway around the globe in the wee hours of Wednesday morning with a pitch thrown by Glendale's very own Brandon McCarthy.

It was a mixed bag for the right-handed pitcher when it came to firsts, as he was responsible for the first hit, run and homer of the young season, but also the first strikeout.

McCarthy's Oakland Athletics suffered a 3-1 loss in 11 innings to the Seattle Mariners in baseball's season opener in Tokyo, in which McCarthy put forth a solid effort, but didn't factor in the decision.

McCarthy, who was born in the Jewel City, allowed six hits and no walks to three strikeouts in seven innings and surrendered only one run, on a fourth-inning solo home run by Seattle second baseman Dustin Ackley.

"It was a really bad fastball," McCarthy told "It was supposed to be a cutter up and in, and it turned out to be a cutter in the middle, and I asked him to hit it out."

But McCarthy was taken off the hook in the bottom of the fourth when A's catcher Kurt Suzuki doubled in shortstop Cliff Pennington to forge a 1-1 tie that persisted until the 11th when Ackley drove in the go-ahead run with a single.

The Athletics and Mariners wrapped up their two-game series in Japan in a game that was scheduled to begin at 2:10 a.m. PDT today.

In his second year with Oakland, McCarthy is coming off the best season of his six-year major-league career in which he went 9-9 with a 3.32 earned-run average and 123 strikeouts, setting career-bests in wins, ERA, strikeouts, innings pitched (170 2/3) and complete games (five).

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