Tampa Bay's performance on opening day wasn't a surprise. Seattle's wasn't either.
The Devil Rays, the American League's new expansion team, gave up the game's first 11 runs and lost to Detroit 11-6 in their franchise opener Tuesday.Seattle, still looking like an expansion team as far as the bullpen is concerned, wasted a six-run lead and allowed Cleveland to rally for a 10-9 victory.
"There was a lot going on, but we're not going to make excuses," Tampa Bay's Larry Rothschild said after his debut as a major league manager. "We just got beat."
Ken Griffey Jr., Jay Buhner, Edgar Martinez and Russ Davis each homered, a reminder the Mariners hit a record 264 home runs last year. But then came the bullpen, which blew 27 save chances last season. Bobby Ayala, loser Tony Fossas and Mike Timlin combined to allow two hits and five walks in the eighth.
Randy Johnson, starting perhaps his final season with the Mariners, had a 9-3 lead but wound up allowing six runs, 11 hits and two walks in 5 2-3 innings.
At Tropicana Field, which feature's baseball's first cigar bar, Joe Randa and Joe Oliver each drove in three runs and Luis Gonzalez hit a two-run homer before a sellout crowd of 45,369.
Wade Boggs' two-run homer off winner Justin Thompson in the sixth inning was about all Devil Rays' fans had to cheer following an hourlong pregame celebration of baseball's arrival on Florida's west coast.
Loser Wilson Alvarez was pounded for six runs and nine hits in 2 1-3 innings.
At the Kingdome, Cleveland relievers Paul Shuey, Jose Mesa, Paul Assenmacher and Mike Jackson were perfect, retiring all 13 batters they faced.
In the Game 7 of last year's World Series, Mesa failed to hold a lead against Florida, and the Indians lost in 11 innings. Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove decided Monday not to not use Mesa as his closer - at least to start the season.
Mesa pitched 2 1-3 perfect innings for the win as a setup man, and Jackson got the save.
WHITE SOX 9, RANGERS 2: Frank Thomas, Albert Belle and Robin Ventura drove in two runs each for visiting Chicago in Jerry Manuel's first game as manager of the White Sox.
Winner Jaime Navarro allowed just five hits in six shutout innings, and Mike Cameron saved a home run when he leaped in left-center to snare a ninth-inning drive by Fernando Tatis that was headed over the wall.
ROYALS 4, ORIOLES 1: Tim Belcher, starting in place of the injured Kevin Appier, allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings to beat Mike Mussina, who struck out 11 in eight innings at Camden Yards.
Rookie Larry Sutton drove in three runs and Jeff King went 2-for-2 and scored twice before leaving in the fourth because of a sore back.