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Cespedes home run helps A's split series

TOKYO — With his first major-league home run, Yoenis Cespedes helped the Athletics gain a split of their regular-season opening series against the Mariners.

The Cuban defector's go-ahead, two-run drive in the seventh off reliever Shawn Kelly sent the A's to a 4-1 victory Thursday night at the Tokyo Dome.

"I wake up early every day and get to the field early and work hard because the baseball is different than in Cuba," Cespedes said through a translator.

Bartolo Colon won his Oakland debut, allowing three hits in eight innings.

Former Ray Jonny Gomes hit his first Oakland home run, and another former Ray, Grant Balfour, pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

Japanese star Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-4 for the Mariners. He excited the crowd of 43,279 in the fifth with a leaping catch against the wall.

Both teams resume spring training games Saturday back in the United States. Other big-league teams start regular-season play April 4.

pavano threatened, police say: A high school classmate of Twins pitcher Carl Pavano threatened to reveal an alleged three-year homosexual relationship they had as teenagers and to write a book about it unless Pavano apologized to him and bought him a navy Range Rover sport utility vehicle with tan leather, according to a search warrant affidavit filed by police in Pavano's hometown of Southington, Conn.

Police said they began investigating the allegations after Pavano's sister, Michelle DeGennaro, complained in December that she had received Facebook messages from the classmate, Christian Bedard, a 36-year-old real estate agent. DeGennaro told police that Bedard lied about having a relationship with her brother, trying to extort her family.

Bedard, who hasn't been charged, denied attempting to extort money. He told the Associated Press he wanted an apology because of how Pavano treated him when they were teens. He said the SUV demand was a joke.

Pavano, who is married with two children, didn't comment.

cubs: Right-hander Randy Wells was among nine sent to the minors, meaning the rotation is set: former Ray Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Chris Volstad, Ryan Dempster, and Paul Maholm. Also sent down was left-hander Travis Wood, who was acquired in trade that sent reliever Sean Marshall to Cincinnati.

Giants: The team is committed to keeping All-Star right-hander Matt Cain, 27, beyond the upcoming season, and CEO and president Larry Baer said serious negotiations are ongoing.

indians: Chris Perez pitched a perfect inning in his spring debut. Out since February with a strained left oblique, he said he feels better than when he was an All-Star last year. Perez revealed for the first time that he hurt his arm last spring. "I guess the scouting report is to swing early on me," said Perez after needing only five pitches in the inning.

marlins: Anibal Sanchez, who has been limited by a right (throwing) sore shoulder, had a strong outing against the Cardinals to end questions about the rotation. He allowed a run in five innings, saying: "I feel great. I feel ready for long games."

pirates: James McDonald, scheduled to make his regular-season debut April 8 at home against Philadelphia, allowed 10 runs, seven hits and seven walks in 3⅔ innings against the Twins. "Other days, I've made those same pitches and gave up one run," he said.

Cespedes home run helps A's split series 03/29/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 30, 2012 1:06am]

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