|Seattle (16-16) «||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||1||5||10||0|
"It's a cheap way of me not buying my mom a gift," Griffey joked after Seattle's 5-3 comeback victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday stopped the Mariners' six-game losing streak.
Griffey was sure his mother, Birdie, would be smiling at his 614th career homer, a two-run shot in the eighth inning that tied it at 2.
And how's this for being a family man? Griffey's first and 400th home runs both came on his dad's birthday, and he hit No. 500 on Father's Day. This was his seventh career homer on Mother's Day in 21 seasons.
"You try to do your best on certain days, and Mother's Day is one of them," said Griffey, one of several players who used a pink-painted bat for the occasion and breast cancer awareness. "You don't want to get yelled at by Mom at home, if you take 0-for-4 with three strikeouts."
Wladimir Balentien added an RBI double in that breakthrough eighth, ruining seven shutout innings by Nick Blackburn. Blackburn rebounded from his worst start of the season with his best, surrendering only five hits and a walk while striking out six against a Seattle lineup that produced a total of 10 runs in the previous five games.
But the Mariners broke out late, scoring half that many in the last two innings against a Twins bullpen that has been trying to steady itself for the better part of the past two years.
"It's going to happen. Somebody struggles every day in baseball," Blackburn said.
Then Jesse Crain (1-1) gave up three consecutive hits, including a single by Russell Branyan that clipped off the top of first baseman Justin Morneau's glove. Another run scored on a wild pitch, and Balentien's big hit brought boos from the crowd.
"Pretty disappointing. Those two guys we count on a lot," Gardenhire said. "That's their inning."
After a 12-6 start to this start-fresh season, the Mariners were stumbling badly in May. They were outscored 45-15 in their skid.
"You go through that 'here-we-go-again' with the offense," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "This offense shows spurts where we're OK, but others that I just don't have an answer for yet."
Closer Brandon Morrow had his here-we-go-again moment in the ninth.
Making his first appearance since April 23 after sitting out with biceps tendinitis, Morrow picked up his sixth save despite giving up a two-out RBI single to Joe Mauer and walking Morneau and Michael Cuddyer on eight pitches to load the bases. He retired Brendan Harris on a grounder to end the game after going to a full count -- on all fastballs.
"It's up. It's down. It's in. It's out. It's all over the place," Harris said. "He just took a little bit off the last one."
Miguel Batista (2-0) recorded the last out of the seventh for the win. All four runs Morrow has allowed this year have been at the Metrodome.
"It was such a big deal for him to come back. For both of us," Wakamatsu said.
Seattle's Erik Bedard minimized the damage, but he didn't exactly turn in a slump-stopping performance. It took him a season-high 110 pitches to complete a season-low 4 2/3 innings. Bedard still has not beaten the Twins in nine career starts.
|Ken Griffey Jr. receives props for his 614th homer, which ties the game in the eighth. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Ichiro Suzuki, RF||5||0||1||0||0||1||0||.315|
|Jose Lopez, 2B||4||2||1||1||1||0||2||.256|
|Ken Griffey Jr., DH||5||1||2||2||0||0||0||.218|
|Adrian Beltre, 3B||4||1||2||0||0||1||0||.234|
|Russell Branyan, 1B||4||1||1||0||0||2||2||.289|
|Wladimir Balentien, LF||3||0||1||1||1||1||2||.313|
|Franklin Gutierrez, CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.272|
|Yuniesky Betancourt, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||4||.265|
|Rob Johnson, C||4||0||1||0||0||3||1||.207|
|Endy Chavez, CF-LF||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.279|
|2B - Ken Griffey Jr. (4, Blackburn), Wladimir Balentien (4, Crain), Endy Chavez (2, Blackburn)|
|HR - Jose Lopez (3, Breslow), Ken Griffey Jr. (3, Mijares)|
|RBI - Jose Lopez (19), Ken Griffey Jr. 2 (7), Wladimir Balentien (3)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jose Lopez (5)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Outfield Assists - Endy Chavez 1|
|Miguel Batista (W,2-0)||0.1||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.24|
|David Aardsma (H,5)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.88|
|Brandon Morrow (S,6)||1||2||1||1||2||1||0||4.70|
|WP - Erik Bedard (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Erik Bedard 110-63, Mark Lowe 32-16, Miguel Batista 5-3, David Aardsma 9-6, Brandon Morrow 35-19|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Erik Bedard 4-5, Mark Lowe 3-3, Brandon Morrow 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Erik Bedard 23, Mark Lowe 8, Miguel Batista 1, David Aardsma 3, Brandon Morrow 7|
|Denard Span, LF||4||0||0||0||1||1||5||.295|
|Matt Tolbert, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||1||4||.167|
|a- Jason Kubel, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.308|
|Joe Mauer, DH||4||1||2||1||1||0||1||.485|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||3||1||1||1||2||0||3||.322|
|Michael Cuddyer, RF||4||0||1||1||1||2||3||.270|
|Brendan Harris, 3B||3||0||0||0||2||1||3||.286|
|Mike Redmond, C||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.237|
|Carlos Gomez, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.218|
|Nick Punto, SS||3||1||2||0||1||0||0||.207|
|a-struck out for Tolbert in the 9th|
|2B - Justin Morneau (9, Bedard), Nick Punto (2, Bedard)|
|RBI - Joe Mauer (10), Justin Morneau (26), Michael Cuddyer (18)|
|2-OUT RBI - Joe Mauer (5), Michael Cuddyer (5)|
|SB - Nick Punto (3, 2nd base off Morrow/Johnson)|
|Team LOB - 12|
|Jose Mijares (BS,1)||0.1||1||2||2||1||0||1||4.50|
|Jesse Crain (L,1-1)||0||3||2||2||0||0||0||7.88|
|WP - Jesse Crain (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Nick Blackburn 99-65, Jose Mijares 10-4, Jesse Crain 11-7, Matt Guerrier 8-7, Craig Breslow 19-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nick Blackburn 8-7, Jose Mijares 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Nick Blackburn 27, Jose Mijares 3, Jesse Crain 3, Matt Guerrier 2, Craig Breslow 4|
|Attendance - 25555|
|Game Time - 3:19|
|Temperature - 70|
|Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Chuck Meriwether, Third Base - Eric Cooper|