Yoenis Cespedes provided a signature moment in his home debut Friday night, blasting a monster homer in the fourth inning that sent a charge through a sold-out Oakland Coliseum crowd.
The A's could have used a rewind button on the rest of the night.
They genuinely looked out of sync in all phases in a 7-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners, who spoiled the A's home opener and have taken two of the first three in a four-game series that began in Tokyo.
The A's went 15-7-2 during spring training, the third-best record in the major leagues. They pitched well and played sharp defense in splitting a season-opening series with the Mariners in Japan on March 28-29.
But that crisp play was nowhere to be found as they resumed their regular season Friday.
"The whole game was very disappointing to me," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You want to put on a good show. We don't get many crowds like that."
No. 1 starter Brandon McCarthy (0-1) labored through five innings, and though just two of his five runs were earned, he ran his pitch count up to 95 and lacked his characteristic command.
The right-hander allowed just one run in seven innings in Tokyo against Seattle and didn't walk a batter. He had two walks Friday but was well off the mark on several other pitches.
"It was as bad as I've been in a long time," McCarthy said. "I had very little feel, kind of the complete opposite of how I felt in Japan."
Seattle took charge
With Brendan Ryan on second after a double, Donaldson charged Chone Figgins' bunt and his off-balance throw was wide of first, allowing Ryan to score.
With the bases loaded and one out, Jesus Montero delivered a sacrifice fly, and McCarthy had a chance to escape the inning with minimal damage.
But Kyle Seager's two-run single up the middle was a damaging blow, pushing the A's deficit to 4-0.
The saving grace for the A's was Cespedes, who crushed a 2-1 pitch from Jason Vargas (1-0) for a two-run homer that was measured at 462 feet by espn.com's home run tracker.
The ball cleared the section of seats that sit high above the wall in left-center, and it nearly took out a luxury suite window.
Cespedes said he's hit them longer in Cuba, and Melvin added: "He'll hit them farther than that."
It was quite a way for Cespedes to mark his first regular-season game at the Coliseum. If there's one thing he might change, it was the pause he took at home plate to watch the ball before breaking into his trot.
He admitted such an action is more acceptable in Cuban baseball than in the majors.
"I followed the ball," Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "I don't like to do that again."
Cespedes, who hit fifth behind cleanup man Jonny Gomes, finished 1 for 4 with two strikeouts. Both of them came on fastballs, one swinging and one looking.
Melvin is placing a big emphasis on better defensive play after the A's led the American League in errors last season. But teams are likely to test Donaldson, still finding his way at third base, by dropping bunts his way as Figgins did.
The switch-hitting speedster Crisp is a more natural fit batting second as opposed to third, where he hit in the season-opening series in Tokyo against Seattle.
"I want to see what Reddick can do in the third spot," Melvin said. "He's shown he can hit left-handers. ... He's swung the bat consistently, and you want to have your most consistent hitter hitting third for you."
The A's don't have prototypical fits for the middle of their lineup, but Reddick, who hit .304 in the spring with three homers, might offer the best skill set in the third spot, where traditionally a team's best overall hitter resides.
The Mariners had so much respect for Cespedes' throwing arm that Figgins didn't even try to tag on a somewhat shallow fly ball that Cespedes caught in left-center in the third. That decision looked silly when Cespedes dropped the ball while making the exchange from his glove to his throwing hand.
He nearly threw out Brendan Ryan tagging up on Ichiro Suzuki's sacrifice fly in the sixth, but his throw was up the third-base line.
"I don't think he's afraid to let you hit the ball," Melvin said. "He knows where it's going, so he can keep you in the big part of the park."