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Ryan off to perfect start at plate for Mariners

OAKLAND -- As a guy who dueled with the Mendoza Line -- and lost -- last year, Brendan Ryan shouldn't be blamed if he smiles at the sight of a 1.000 batting average next to his name going into the second game of the year.

Ryan only had one hit in the opener, but it was a key single in the two-run rally that fueled the Mariners' 2-0 win over the A's. And he also walked twice, stole a base and scored a run. Not to mention a dazzling defensive play to stifle Oakland in the fourth inning and help preserve the shutout.

The defense? That comes with the territory from the 31-year-old veteran. But getting on base all three times?

"I'll take that the rest of the way," Ryan said with a grin.

Ryan hit .194 last season, but has been a much better hitter in his career and has worked hard to get back to using the whole field and doing the little things to help his team win. Which was exactly the case Monday when he blooped his single to right. Dustin Ackley aggressively hustled to third on the play, narrowly beating a throw from strong-armed Josh Reddick, as Ryan smartly scooted into second.

When leadoff hitter Franklin Gutierrez followed with a single up the middle, both runners scored for the only tallies of the night.

"That was a great read by Ack, a great time to be aggressive," Ryan said. "Obviously it worked out. That's something we want to do, be aggressive in the right times. Most of the times it'll work out for us, but we need to be able to live with it if it doesn't, because we're doing the right thing. It was just a good read by him and I tried to follow."

"Ack and I are trying to have some fun, score some runs and be a spark down there at the bottom of the lineup."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.
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