Mariners 4, Athletics 0
Jesus Montero wanted to make a good impression during his first homestand in Seattle.
Hitting a line-drive, 415-foot home run to center at Safeco Field is impressive for anyone - rookie or veteran.
''It was cool. It was exciting for me to hit a home run in this field. It's a huge field,'' Montero said. ''I was impressed.''
Montero finally made the splash Seattle has been waiting for with a solo homer and a two-run double, and Hector Noesi threw eight sharp innings to lead the Mariners past the Oakland Athletics 4-0 on Saturday night.
The two centerpieces Seattle received in its major offseason trade with the New York Yankees shined together on the same night. Montero showed off his power with a line-drive homer in the second inning and later his ability to go to the opposite field by ripping a two-out double just inside the right-field line to give the Mariners a 4-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Noesi (1-1) was brilliant on the mound, rebounding from a rough first start for Seattle. He gave up five hits and struck out six in his first major league win as a starter.
''Hector did a great job of mixing all of his pitches, of using all of his pitches,'' Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. ''He did a nice job when he was ahead but he did a nice job when he was behind, too. He was a complete pitcher out there.''
There were plenty of expectations when Seattle gave up All-Star pitcher Michael Pineda to get Montero and try to help its staggering offense. The goal by bringing in the young slugger was finding a bat that could provide the pop Seattle's offense has missed but would remain under the team's control for a number of years.
Montero's power had not shown up through the first couple of weeks, but it was on display Saturday. Montero lined a 3-2 pitch from starter Tommy Milone (1-1) over the wall in center in the second inning. It was his first extra-base hit in a Mariners uniform and he was given a standing ovation by the appreciative home crowd.
But that was it for the Mariners offense until the sixth. Seattle got its first hit since Montero's homer when Brendan Ryan lined a single with one out. Ryan then got gutsy and made it to third on Chone Figgins' single to left-center, with Figgins going to second on the throw. Dustin Ackley walked to load the bases for Ichiro Suzuki, but Seattle's new No. 3 hitter popped out weakly for the second out.
Justin Smoak walked when Milone was wide with a 3-2 pitch to force in Ryan. Montero then broke it open with an inside-out swing that dropped a liner down the right-field line and scored a pair. Smoak was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first.
''I just want to help the team. Whatever opportunity they give me, I'm going to help,'' Montero said. ''I'm here to hit, I'm here to catch, whatever they decide, I'm going to help and do my best.''
Although he was somewhat overlooked in the framework of the trade, Seattle's management was just as excited about bringing Noesi over from New York. He was knocked around in his first start for Seattle, giving up six hits and seven earned runs in just three innings against Texas. But back in a more pitcher-friendly park, Noesi flustered the A's and induced popups and flyouts most of the night. Of the 24 outs Noesi recorded, nine popups were caught by infielders and another five fly balls were caught by outfielders.
He was successful at getting his fastball in on batters, leading to the high number of weak popups. Noesi scattered hits to Daric Barton, Josh Reddick and a pair to Cliff Pennington. He ran into trouble with two outs in the eighth when Pennington's second hit was followed by Jemile Weeks' ground-rule double to center. Despite being at 104 pitches, Noesi stayed in and got Coco Crisp to pop out to end the inning.
''He pounded the strike zone,'' Oakland's Kurt Suzuki said. ''He had it run a little bit, he threw changeups in there. He just threw very well.''
NOTES: Seattle LHP George Sherrill has not received MRI results on his sore left elbow but said it started bothering him after the Mariners returned from Japan. Sherrill was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a strained flexor bundle. ... A's manager Bob Melvin said he would announce Oakland's No. 5 starter on Sunday. Because of schedules, the A's have not needed a fifth starter until Tuesday's game at the Angels.