Padres 5, Mariners 3

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—The Seattle Mariners thought they had a matchup they could handle when they walked Ryan Klesko with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning to get to Rondell White.

They guessed wrong. White hit a grand slam to give the San Diego Padres a 5-3 win Friday night over the Mariners, the best team in baseball.

White was mobbed at home plate by his ecstatic teammates after hitting his third career slam, on a 2-2 slider from Jeff Nelson (3-1) to left-center field. It was White’s 12th homer this season.

“He’s tough on righties. He’s got one of the best sliders in the game,” White said. “I just got lucky that he hung one over the plate. I guess I hit it pretty good. I’d been struggling all night.”

White had been 0-for-4 coming into that at-bat.

“I tried to get it away, but I left it over the plate,” Nelson said. “I knew he had a good swing. I was begging for it to stay in.”

One batter earlier, Nelson pitched around Klesko, walking the slugger on a 3-1 pitch to force in San Diego’s first run.

“Klesko is the guy you don’t want to beat you,” Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. “We got the matchup we wanted.”

With the Mariners leading 3-0, pinch-hitter Gary Matthews Jr. started San Diego’s five-run rally by beating out an infield single. Nelson struck out the next two batters, but walked Mark Kotsay and allowed Mark Loretta’s single to load the bases.

Klesko’s walk forced in San Diego’s first run, bringing up White.

“There’s not a better feeling for the team than to win a game like that, and I can’t imagine what it feels like for Rondell,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You’re pretty much shut down for eight innings and you’re down 3-0, to come back and win on a walkoff grand slam, that’s as good as it gets.”

Mike Matthews (3-3) pitched the ninth for the Padres, who have baseball’s second-worst record.

Gil Meche had been in line to become a 10-game winner before Nelson blew his third save.

Meche had allowed just five singles until being chased by Loretta’s double into the right-field corner leading off the eighth. Meche struck out four and walked two. He also got his first career hit when he beat out an infield single to third in the sixth.

Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 16 games and finished 3-for-5.

San Diego’s Oliver Perez, making his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Portland, struggled with his control. He allowed three runs in the third, on three hits and three walks.

Suzuki hit a leadoff single and Perez walked the bases full with one out. Mike Cameron hit an RBI single to left and former Padres catcher Ben Davis had a two-run double past diving center fielder Mark Kotsay.

Perez allowed four hits in five innings, walked six and struck out five.

Notes

Last July 5 against Minnesota, Nelson gave up five runs in the top of the ninth, including a grand slam by Torii Hunter, in an 8-4 loss. … With the Mariners playing in an NL stadium, DH Edgar Martinez had to take a seat. Martinez does have 10 career starts at NL stadiums in interleague play, all at first base, and he’s hit safely in all 10. … The Padres agreed to terms with LHP Daniel Moore, the club’s second round draft pick. Moore went 7-3 with one complete game and a 3.56 ERA in 17 games for the North Carolina Tar Heels this year. …. Former major leaguer Jack McDowell and his rock band, Stickfigure, played in the stadium’s outer concourse before the game. McDowell lives in theSan Diego area. … The Padres are now 2-41 when trailing after eight innings.

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