Nelson Cruz homered the first pitch he saw Thursday night to give the Seattle Mariners a 2-0 run in the teams season-opening game against the Cleveland Indians. It was the fourth time the designated hitter hit a home run on opening day.
The two runs were all the Mariners needed as Felix Hernandez outdueled Cleveland pitcher Corey Kluber for his 7th opening day win. Hernandez is one of seven pitchers in Major League history to record ten consecutive Open Day starts.
After Cruz’s bottom of the first inning blast, Hernandez tossed 5.1 innings, allowed just two hits, one walk, four strikeouts and no runs. After giving up the two-run homer to Cruz, Kluber settled down and pitched eight innings, gave up six hits, walked one batter and struck out eight Mariners
Cleveland clawed back into the game in the top half of the seventh inning when Lonnie Chisenhall scored on a Yan Gomes single to left field. Mariner closer Edwin Diaz came in the ninth inning and was able to shut down the Indians after a shaky start that had 47,149 fans on the edge of their feet.
Diaz struck out Yonder Alonso for the first out of the inning then caused concern when he hit Edward Encarnacion, balked and hit Lonnie Chishehall before striking out Yan Gomes for the save and sent the biggest regular-season crowd in Safeco Field home on a celebratory note.