Coghlan's homer in 9th gives Oakland a 3-2 win over Seattle
SEATTLE (AP) Oakland's Chris Coghlan had never seen the unorthodox sidearm delivery of right-hander Steve Cishek from the batter's box until Friday night.
He quickly found a view he liked, watching the ball find the seats in right field.
''I've never faced him. He's a great closer. I've seen him. It's not a comfortable at-bat,'' Coghlan said. ''I felt like it's a grind facing him because he tried to backdoor a couple of sliders and then tried to sneak one in. I don't know if he pulled it or if they were trying to get me frozen on the ball in but I was grateful I was able to hit a homer.''
Coghlan hit a solo home run with one out in the top of the ninth inning to give the Athletics a 3-2 win over Seattle and spoil the Mariners' home opener.
The largest regular season crowd in Safeco Field history - 47,065 - watched to-be Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. throw out the ceremonial first pitch, only to be sent home frustrated after watching their closer give up a long ball in the ninth inning.
Coghlan turned on a 1-2 pitch on the inside corner from Cishek (0-1) and lined it down the right field line for his first homer of the season and the first run allowed by Seattle's bullpen. It was the lone mistake by either bullpen on a night the relievers on both sides pitched well.
''I was happy with the way (Cishek) threw the ball tonight, except for the one pitch that got away from him,'' Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
Coghlan also had an RBI single in the fourth inning to score Danny Valencia with Oakland's first run. Josh Reddick's home run with two outs in the fifth off Seattle starter Taijuan Walker was his first of the year and gave Oakland a 2-0 lead.
''He made a loud sound,'' Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of Coghlan. ''We're finding out he's a pretty tenacious guy.''
Sean Doolittle (1-1) pitched the eighth inning and Ryan Madson worked the ninth for his second save. Four Oakland relievers combined to throw 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Eric Surkamp.
Seattle got all of its offense in the fifth inning against Surkamp, highlighted by Dae-Ho Lee's home run to deep center field. Lee became the seventh Mariners player in team history whose first major league hit was a home run. The last was Japanese catcher Kenji Johjima in 2006. Lee won the backup first baseman job in spring training in part because of his propensity for the long ball in the past - Lee hit 98 home runs combined over the past four seasons playing in Japan.
Surkamp was called up from the minors after Oakland's rotation got shuffled following Felix Doubront's elbow sprain in his final spring training start and Sonny Gray being scratched from the season opener due to food poisoning. Surkamp allowed only two hits through four innings before finding trouble in the fifth, starting with Lee's homer. Leonys Martin was hit by a 0-2 pitch and later scored on Ketel Marte's sacrifice fly, but the A's escaped the jam when reliever Fernando Rodriguez got Nelson Cruz to ground into a double play with runners on the corners.
The A's were quick to praise Rodriguez for getting out of the fifth inning without giving up any more runs. Jed Lowrie's second error of the game put runners at the corners, but Rodriguez got Cruz to chop a 1-2 pitch to shortstop and start the needed double play.
''I faced him a few times. I know what he was trying to do,'' Rodriguez said. ''Just playing that cat-and-mouse game.''
Athletics: Reddick was partially given the day off. Rather than playing the outfield, Reddick was the A's DH after his back bothered him following Thursday's loss to the White Sox.
Mariners: Servais said he plans to split outfield and DH with Franklin Gutierrez if the Mariners face left-handed pitchers on consecutive days. Gutierrez was the DH on Friday and expected to play right field on Saturday.
Athletics: Rich Hill (0-1) gets his second start after going on opening day because Gray was scratched due to food poisoning.
Mariners: Nathan Karns makes his Seattle debut after being acquired in an offseason trade with Tampa Bay.