Since then, Gutierrez hasn’t stopped hitting home runs against the Padres and has helped his team get back to winning consistently.
In Thursday’s finale of a three-game home series, the Mariners outfielder will next try to help his team to its second series win over the Padres this season.
Before Seattle’s first of six contests this season against San Diego on June 16, Gutierrez had three home runs in 57 games this season and 25 over four-plus years in the majors. He hit his fourth in five matchups against the Padres on Wednesday night and arguably his most important.
“I think we need to play these guys more,” Gutierrez said.
With his team trailing by two, Russell Branyan gave Seattle (37-36) the lead with a three-run homer in the second - his team-leading 18th and third in four games - but San Diego’s Tony Gwynn(notes) Jr. tied it with an RBI single in the fifth.
Then Gutierrez helped deliver Seattle’s sixth win in eight games.
“(Mujica) got behind in the count and threw a fastball to a fastball hitter,” San Diego manager Bud Black said. “He squared it up. That happens.”
Veteran left-hander Jarrod Washburn(notes) (3-5, 3.24 ERA) will try to earn his first victory since April 21 and improve to 3-0 in five career starts against the Padres. Washburn has four quality starts in his last five outings, but is 0-2 in that time thanks in part to Seattle’s eight runs of support.
He received zero in Friday night’s 4-3 win over visiting Arizona and did not factor in the decision despite allowing two earned runs over seven innings.
“We won the game, and that’s all that matters,” Washburn told the team’s official Web site.
San Diego (31-39) will attempt to avoid its 18th loss in 26 games by helping rookie left-hander Wade LeBlanc(notes) (0-0, 9.00 ERA) earn a second career victory. LeBlanc, 1-3 with an 8.02 ERA in 2008, was recalled from Triple-A Portland on Friday and allowed three runs over three innings but escaped without a decision in the Padres’ 7-5 loss to visiting Oakland.
He was pulled after two walks and a hit batter in the fourth inning.
“I just saw signs of control and command leaving him,” Black told the team’s official Web site. “He just couldn’t get the balls in the strike zone as consistently as he wanted.”
Kevin Kouzmanoff(notes) hit a two-run homer Wednesday for his fifth in 11 games, including two against Seattle in that time. Gwynn Jr. has batted .333 since being traded from Milwaukee to the team where his Hall of Fame father starred and has three of his five RBIs in the last four games.