Angels 5, Mariners 4

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SEATTLE (AP) – Orlando Cabrera’s two-run single in the ninth inning lifted the Los Angeles Angels past the Seattle Mariners 5-4 on Monday in the season opener.

With the game tied 3-3, reliever George Sherrill walked Casey Kotchman. Jose Molina sacrificed pinch-runner Maicer Izturis to second and Tim Salmon advanced him to third on a groundout. Reliever J.J Putz walked Chone Figgins, who stole second before Cabrera’s two-run single for the Angels.

It was Los Angeles’ first victory since losing four straight games in the ALCS to the White Sox. The Angels had won the series opener.

Scot Shields pitched 1 1-3 innings in relief for the victory.

Francisco Rodriguez earned the save, giving up a solo homer to pinch-hitter Roberto Petagine in the ninth. Petagine had one homer in 18 games last season with Boston. It was his first major league season since 1998.

Kenji Johjima, playing in the first major league game for a Japanese catcher, homered in the fifth inning for Seattle. The Mariners scored two more runs that inning to tie the game at 3 on RBI singles by Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez.

Seattle loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth inning off starter Bartolo Colon, but reliever J.C. Romero, who pitched the previous six seasons in Minnesota, struck out Jeremy Reed, got Betancourt to fly out and Ichiro Suzuki to hit into a force play.

Colon, 6-1 in his career at Safeco Field and 4-1 all-time on opening day, struck out the side in the first inning and allowed just two infield singles through the first 4 1-3 innings before Johima’s homer.

Los Angeles jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer off starter Jamie Moyer, who was starting his third consecutive Seattle opener.

The Angels added a run in the fourth on Kotchman’s RBI single.

Notes: Johjima became the first Mariners player to hit a home run for his first major league hit since Greg Dobbs on Sept 8, 2004 against Cleveland. It happened four times last season in the major leagues, the last time by Florida’s Jeremy Heredia on Aug. 31. … Johjima averaged 30 home runs over his last five seasons in Japan, but the Mariners are not expecting huge power from him this season. … Matt Hasselbeck of the NFC champion Seahawks threw out the ceremonial first pitch with seven teammates on the mound behind him.

AP-ES-04-03-06 2037EDT

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