Rangers drop opener in Seattle, 5-2

3-31-08 - After Erik Bedard left his Mariners' debut, the Seattle offense woke up.

Adrian Beltre hit a go-ahead groundout in the sixth inning, Jose Lopez had a two-run double in the seventh and the Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 in Monday's opener.

Bedard was acquired from Baltimore to anchor a rotation that already included Felix Hernandez, Miguel Batista, Carlos Silva and Jarrod Washburn. Bedard allowed three hits, including Michael Young's solo home run, in five innings and struck out five. He walked four, one short of his career high, and went to full counts on 10 of his first 18 batters.

The Mariners struggled against Texas ace Kevin Millwood. But they scored two unearned, go-ahead runs in the sixth inning on an error, a squibbed infield single and Beltre's hustle.

Sean Green (1-0) allowed two hits in 1 2/3 innings behind Bedard. J.J. Putz, who saved 40 games and was an All-Star last season, got his first with a scoreless ninth.

Millwood (0-1) made his third consecutive Opening Day start, tying a Texas record shared by Nolan Ryan and Charlie Hough.

Wearing short-sleeves, as always, while snow fell onto Safeco Field's closed roof and a chilling wind blew inside, Millwood allowed only three hits and one runner past first base through five innings.

But Ichiro Suzuki sliced a wicked liner off the glove of Young at shortstop for an error leading off the sixth. Suzuki then broke to steal second base while Lopez squibbed a soft roller to the spot Ian Kinsler vacated to cover the steal attempt. Raul Ibanez then got a base hit, which scored Suzuki to tie the game at 1.

With Lopez at third and one out, Beltre hit a two-hopper that third baseman Hank Blalock tried to turn into an inning-ending double play. But Beltre beat Kinsler's relay throw to first by a step. Beltre flashed his own safe sign while crossing the bag as Lopez scored the go-ahead run.

Lopez hit a clinching, two-run double off Kazuo Fukumori in the seventh.

Millwood allowed only four singles and two unearned runs in six innings. He struck out four and walked three.

It was love at first strike for the largest Opening Day crowd in Safeco Field history (46,334) when Bedard fanned Kinsler on three pitches leading off. But then Young drove a 3-1 fastball three rows into the right-field bleachers.

Milton Bradley returned from a season-ending knee injury he sustained when he was spun to the ground by San Diego manager Bud Black during an argument with umpire Mike Winters on the final weekend of last season.

Bradley walked to first base after appearing to get hit on the top of the right foot by a pitch from Bedard in the third. But plate umpire Jim Joyce called back Bradley, ruling the pitch did not hit him. Bradley limped back and walked on the next pitch -- and then flipped his bat halfway to the third-base coaching box. Joyce warned manager Ron Washington to settle Bradley, who stayed calm.


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