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SEATTLE – Tim Beckham isn’t wasting any time introducing himself to the Mariners and their fans as the club’s new shortstop belted a pair of home runs in his first two at-bats off Red Sox ace Chris Sale in a 12-4 win on Thursday and now has three homers on the season.
The Mariners totaled five home runs on the day, with Edwin Encarnacion, Domingo Santana and Ryon Healy also going deep as Seattle opened its season with three straight wins for just the fourth time in franchise history.
Beckham went 5-for-7 with a pair of walks in Seattle’s two Opening Series wins over the A’s last week in Tokyo and continued carrying the torch in its home opener.
The 29-year-old infielder signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal with the Mariners, largely as a placeholder at shortstop until newly acquired J.P. Crawford is deemed ready to promote from Triple-A Tacoma. But Beckham, the No. 1 overall Draft pick in 2008 by the Rays, has served notice he’s ready to make his own mark with the Mariners.
Beckham had been 0-for-15 with nine strikeouts in his career against Sale, but ripped a solo homer in the second and a two-run shot in the third as the Mariners jumped on the seven-time All-Star.
Beckham hit 48 homers in six previous seasons with the Rays and Orioles, including 12 last year while batting .230 with 35 RBIs in 96 games for Baltimore.
He becomes the fifth player to homer twice in the same game off Sale, joining Josh Donaldson (2017), Miguel Cabrera and Eric Hosmer (’16) and Ryan Raburn (’15).
Encarnacion also homered off Sale in the third as the Red Sox’s prize lefty lasted just three innings while allowing seven runs on six hits and a pair of walks with four strikeouts.
It was only the ninth three-homer game of Sale’s career – including the postseason — and first since his postseason debut in Game 1 of the 2017 American League Division Series.
Before I unveil my fabulous 2019 panel of baseball experts and their equally fabulous post-season picks, I need to cover two important details.
First, the season has already started. The Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s kicked it off last week with games in Tokyo, which counted for baseball, but do not count with me.
True Opening Day is Thursday, March 28. This is the earliest Opening Day ever and all 30 teams will play. This early start is to allow teams to scatter a few additional rest days into the season. (Need more rest days? Lose 100 games and you’ll get all of October off.)
Opening Day in 1919?
Second, Sports Illustrated.
Hi, SI guys. (And, by “guys” I mean, literally, guys, because girls are generally unwelcome at Sports Illustrated.)
Last year, my experts outsmarted the dude-fellas at SI who were…
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TOKYO — Many of the Mariners’ familiar names are gone after an offseason makeover by general manager Jerry Dipoto, but the new crew made its presence felt in a 9-7 win over the A’s on Wednesday in the first game of the Opening Series at the Tokyo Dome.
Left fielder Domingo Santana and shortstop Tim Beckham, two of five new position starters acquired over the winter, each blasted home runs and new relievers Cory Gearrin, Zac Rosscup and Hunter Stricklandslammed the door with 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief to get the Mariners’ season off on the right foot halfway around the world.