Ichiro says farewell, and Mariners beat A’s in extra innings 5-4

photo from Nogi/Agence France-Presse: Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki left the field in the bottom of eighth inning on Thursday night to an ovation from fans in Tokyo

By Jerry Feitelberg

On an emotional day in Tokyo, Ichiro Suzuki said farewell to baseball. The 45-year old Suzuki went 0-for-4 in his last game and left in the eighth inning as the crowd rose to give a standing ovation for the last time an active player. Ichiro, without question, will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot. He will be the first Japanese-born player to reach that lofty level.

There was still a game to play, and the M’s won for the second day in a row as they downed the A’s 5-4 in 12 innings. The M’s sent Yusei Kikuchi to do the pitching honors and he did fairly well in his MLB debut. He went 4 2/3 innings and allowed two runs and 4 hits. Marco Estrada made his A’s debut. His line was five innings of work and he gave up five hits and three runs.

The M’s put two runs on the board when former Oakland Athletic, Ryan Healy, took Estrada deep with a man on board. The M’s increased the lead to 3-0 in the third when Mitch Haniger sent one of Estrada’s pitches into the seats.

The A’s closed the gap when they tallied two in the bottom of the fifth. Marcus Semien singled to drive in Matt Olson with the A’s first run. Jurickson Profar scored the second run on Jay Bruce’s fielding error.

The M’s added a run in the seventh, but the A’s DH Khris Davis singled to drive in Semien and Matt Chapman with the tying runs.

The game remained tied until the top of the 12th inning. The M’s loaded the bases with one out. Domingo Santa, who hit a grand slam on Wednesday, reached on a fielder’s choice. The A’s failed to make the inning-ending double play and the M’s scored the go-ahead run. The M’s bullpen closed out the game for the win. The final score was 5-4 in favor of the M’s.

Game Notes and Stats: Marcus Semien was the hitting start for the A’s with three hits. Ramon Laureano had two knocks.

Up Next: The A’s resume Spring Training with three exhibition games against the San Francisco Giants. The two teams will play in Oakland on Sunday and then play in San Francisco Monday and Tuesday. The A’s are off on Wednesday. The A’s will start the season will a day opener Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels. Game time will be at 1:05 pm. They will have the night opener Friday at 7:05 PM.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast with Barbara Mason: How Sharks lost three straight at home; Ichiro is just the ticket for opener in Japan; St. Mary’s continues to deliver the thrills

Photo credit: @NHL

Barbara Mason filling in for Amaury Pi Gonzalez:

#1 The San Jose Sharks, after winning six straight have all of a sudden hit a brick wall with three straight loses to Florida, Nashville and Vegas. Should there be some concern from head coach Peter DeBoer?

#2 Ichiro can still throw from the outfield to the plate. He’s over 40, but can still start as a designated hitter and will be in the starting line up for the Seattle Mariners against the Oakland A’s on Wednesday in Tokyo for opening day.

#3 Ichiro becomes the second oldest position player in MLB history to start a game.

#4 This is a big deal for the Oakland A’s to host and open the season in Japan and there has been a huge contingent of press and fans, who will pack the Tokyo Dome Wednesday night.

#5 St. Mary’s win over Gonzaga last week is something that basketball analysts are still talking about. You have to go back to the 2010 St. Mary’s team, who beat top-10 Villanova in the 2010 NCAA Tournament in the second round.

Barbara Mason does Amaury’s News and Commentary each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com