Grant Balfour of the Oakland Athletics celebrates victory with teammate Yoenis Cespedes during the MLB Opening Series game two between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome on March 29, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
The Cuban star slammed one of three Oakland home runs to give the A's a split of their series in Japan with the M's.
He must be worth the hype now, right?
Why, just yesterday Jeff Sullivan over-analyzed Yoenis Cespedes' major league debut. With GIFs!
Cespedes' first major league home run in the seventh inning Thursday led the Oakland Athletics to a 4-1 win over the Seattle Mariners in Tokyo, Japan. The two teams thus split their two-game trip to Asia, and will both come home in first place. This is only because none of the other teams have played any regular season games yet, and won't until the middle of next week, so it means exactly nothing.
The Mariners' Jason Vargas and the Athletics' Bartolo Colon matched shutout innings through six. In the seventh, Seattle's Justin Smoak led off with a home run, just the third hit off Colon (the other two were singles), giving the M's a 1-0 lead. In the last of the seventh, Coco Crisp led off with a walk. Vargas retired Jonny Gomes, but then Seattle manager Eric Wedge replaced him with Shawn Kelley.
Kelley recorded the second out of the inning by getting Kurt Suzuki to hit into a force play, but then Cespedes gave the A's the lead with his two-run homer. George Sherrill replaced Kelley, but that didn't help; Josh Reddick hit a home run on Sherrill's fifth pitch.
In the next inning, Gomes homered off Steve Delabar to complete the scoring. Japanese fans attending the game could have left wondering whether MLB players can score runs on anything except home runs. Total attendance for the second Opening Series game was 43,391, about 800 fewer than for the first game.
The Mariners will fly back to Arizona where they'll play five more games at spring-training sites before continuing their regular season schedule on April 6... against the Athletics again, this time in Oakland. The A's will travel to Sacramento to face their Triple-A affiliate on Saturday, then play three exhibition games against the Giants in the Bay Area (two in San Francisco, one in Oakland) before meeting back up with the Mariners on April 6.