Ken Griffey Jr and Franklin Gutierrez homered as Seatlle wins the 2009 Opener with new manager Dan Wakamatsu guiding the way
Minnesota - 2009 Opening Day by staff @ baseballhistorian.com
The Seattle Mariners used the longball to score 6 runs on 6 hits before an Opening Day crowd of 48,514 in Minnesota and defeat the Twins by the score of 6-1. Ken Griffey Jr returned to Seattle where he dazzled Mariners fans for 11 seasons, 1989 thru 1999, prior to being traded to Cincinnati before the 2000 season. Ken Griffey Jr playing right field lined a solo homer, number 612 in his long career. Centerfielder Franklin Gutierrez also homered off Twins starting pitcher Francisco Lirano, who was hit for 4 runs in 7 innings and was the losing pitcher. Franklin Gutierrez also walked and scored 2 runs with 2 RBIs. Second baseman Jose Lopez played a major role in the Mariners win. He had a single and a sacrifice fly in 4 trips to the plate and had a game-leading 3 RBIs. In 2008 Jose Lopez batted .297 with 17 homers, 89 RBIs.
The Minnesota Twins started the 2009 season with four players on the disabled list, including catcher Joe Mauer, the 2008 AL batting champ, and a trio of pitchers, Scott Baker, Pat Neshek and Boof Bonser.
Winning Seattle pitcher Felix Hernandez toosed 8 strong innings, allowing just 5-hits, 1-run with 6 strike outs and 3 base on balls. Felix Hernandez had a 12-3 record as a rookie in 2006, then missed all of 2007 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Although slowed a bit his fastball still roars across the plate in the low 90 mph. Minnesota manager Dan Wakamatsu said, "I was delighted to see Felix Hernandez good showing today."
Seattle used Miguel Batista to close the Minnesota offense in the 9th. He gave up one hit, no runs and notched a K.