Ken Griffey Jr. Goes Deep As the Mariners Rally To Beat Arizona 4-3

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Ken Griffey Jr. Goes Deep As the Mariners Rally To Beat Arizona 4-3
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

In the first game I have attended since moving back to Seattle, the Mariners rallied from a three-run deficit to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3.

Ken Griffey Jr. hit a two-run pinch hit homerun in eighth inning to tie the game and Rob Johnson had the go-ahead RBI as the Mariners earned a victory in their MLB-leading 27th one-run game.

The Diamondbacks drew first blood, scoring two runs in the third inning after a costly throwing error by Mariners SP Jarrod Washburn. A Miguel Montero solo homerun in the fourth inning gave the Diamondbacks an early 3-0 lead.

Washburn and Diamondbacks SP Jon Garland controlled the game for the most part, combining to allow only three baserunners from the fourth through seventh innings.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, however, the Seattle Mariners' offense came alive.

Scott Schoenweis relieved Jon Garland to face left-handed power hitter Russell Branyan, the first batter of the inning. Schoenweis, a left-handed specialist, held left-handed batters to a paltry .207 batting average prior to Friday night's game.

Despite Schoenweis' stellar lefty resume, Branyan sent the fifth pitch of his at-bat into the right field bleachers and cut Arizona's lead to 3-1.

Tony Pena relieved Schoenweis and after a single, strikeout, and flyout, the Mariners were left with a runner on third and two outs.

Enter Ken Griffey Jr.

Griffey entered the game as a pinch-hitter to a standing ovation of over 27,000 fans, and a Hollywood producer couldn't write a better outcome for his only at-bat of the night.

One pitch. Bang.

Griffey sent Tony Pena's first offering into the stands in straightaway center field to tie the game at 3-3, sending the fans into frenzy over Seattle's sudden prospect of victory.

Griffey returned to the dugout, but only momentarily, as his teammates forced him up the steps for a curtain call. He tipped his cap to the fans and received a deafening standing ovation.

Journeyman Chris Woodward, called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday, singled in the next at-bat and was driven in on a two-out triple by Rob Johnson, giving the Mariners a 4-3 lead.

David Aardsma struck out the side in a nearly perfect top of the ninth inning to earn his thirteenth save in fourteen chances, allowing only a single to Justin Upton.

Here are some notes and observations from Friday night's action:

 

Russell Branyan Continues to Rake

Branyan hit his team-best 16th homerun of 2009 in the eighth inning on Friday. Branyan has always had power, as his career HR/162GP was over 28 prior to this season. Despite this ratio, the 34-year-old journeyman has never held a regular starting gig, spending time with ten different teams over the last seven seasons. He is on pace for 40 homeruns this season, it will be interesting to see if his production continues.

 

Jarrod Washburn Continues a Stellar 2009 Campaign

Jarrod Washburn is dealing. Don't let his 3-5 record deceive you. Instead, look at the 3.24 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, as well as 9 Quality Starts (T-18 in MLB). In his last nine starts, Washburn has a disappointing 0-4 record, but has put together 57.0 IP, a 3.17 ERA, 37 K, and only 4 HR allowed. Washburn joins Felix Hernandez and Erik Bedard (when healthy) as the anchors of the Mariners pitching staff.

 

Web Gem of the Night

Jarrod Washburn produced his ninth quality start on Friday, but also bolstered his Gold Glove resume. In the top of the fourth inning, Diamondbacks 1B Tony Clark hit a sharp grounder back to the mound. Washburn wheeled around and shot his glove between his legs to snag the ball and flip it to first. The icing on the cake, however, is that he grabbed the ball between his legs with his back to the plate. It didn't make YouTube, but it was phenomenal.

 

Endy Chavez Leaves With Knee Injury

In the top of the fifth inning, DH Felipe Lopez hit a blooper into left field. Mariners SS Yuniesky Betancourt and LF Endy Chavez both gave chase and were caught up in a nasty collision. Preliminary reports indicate that ligament damage and a trip to the disabled list are likely. Chavez could be done for the 2009 season.

 

Comment with what you think about the Mariners' Friday night victory.

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