Seattle 6, Twins 1: Opportunistic Mariners spoil Twins' opener

In 2008, the Twins hardly could fail when the opportunity arose. Minnesota hit .305 with runners in scoring position, leading the majors by a wide margin, and that talent for clutch hitting took the team on a seemingly-magical ride to a post-season playoff.

Monday night, it was the Mariners that took advantage of opportunities, en route to a 6-1 win in Minnesota.

Twins starter Francisco Liriano allowed just four baserunners in seven innings - but every player that reached base against him scored.  Adrian Beltre came around to score after a second-inning double, and Ken Griffey Jr. and Franklin Gutierrez hit home runs, the latter just moments after an Endy Chavez single.

In the ninth, Jesse Crain and Craig Breslow issued walks, both of which ended up crossing the plate.

Those runs were more than enough for Seattle's Felix Hernandez, who allowed five hits and three walks in eight innings, but had to pitch out of jams in the first, third, fourth, and fifth innings, stranding six Twins in scoring position.

Minnesota appeared to be rallying in the fifth inning, as they loaded the bases with nobody out.  But Alexi Casilla popped out, and after Michael Cuddyer drove in one run with a single, Justin Morneau bounced into a double play to kill the threat.

And so, the Mariners won the Twins' home opener in Minnesota's last season in the Metrodome - just as they did in 1982, winning the Twins' home opener in Minnesota's first season in the Dome.

UPDATE 11:10pm: Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune reports that Mike Redmond injured a groin muscle in the game, and is at best day-to-day.

After the jump: the Twins' three stars of the game.

3. Denard Span
Span got the somewhat surprising start in left field, a position he has not played with any regularity - and he looked pretty darn good out there, getting to several fly balls that would have sent Delmon Young skating back to the wall to pick them up.  Hitting leadoff, Span also walked twice, contributing to a pair of Twins rallies.

2. Luis Ayala
In his first appearance as a Twin,the right-hander allowed a single - but immediately erased it on a double play. One batter later, he had a faced-three, retired-three inning.  The Twins could use about 75 more of those this year.

1. Bert Blyleven
You may have heard Bert say it four or five hundred times - it was Bert's birthday on Monday.  Happy 58th Birthday, Bert!

(Honestly, that was about as good as it got on Opening Day.)

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