Mariners 10, Padres 8
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SEATTLE (AP)—After 45 games, the Seattle Mariners finally have two things they haven’t had all season.
A series sweep and a positive vibe.
Raul Ibanez and Carl Everett each homered during an eight-run second inning Sunday as the Mariners held on to beat San Diego 10-8, the third consecutive win for the last place team in the AL West the previous two seasons.
“We had a great attitude this weekend. You could feel a good vibe going,” Ibanez said.
He added that vibe was “definitely” better than it’s been all season.
“At the same time, it’s only three games,” he said.
The Mariners’ biggest inning in nearly three full seasons included a squeeze bunt for an RBI by Yuniesky Betancourt, a play no one in Seattle can remember seeing. That gave the Mariners a 3-1 lead.
The Padres, who began May by going 13-1, were swept in a series for the third time in their streaky season.
“They are a good team, and I think when things were going bad for them it was bound to even out,” said San Diego catcher Josh Bard. “It’s kind of frustrating that we were the team they came across to even it out.”
Bard, catching for the third straight game while Mike Piazza was the designated hitter, hit a home run off Rafael Soriano that banged off the second deck facing to rally the Padres to within 10-8 in the eighth inning.
But J.J. Putz completed a scoreless ninth for his sixth save. He saved all three games in series.
When asked if winning three from what had been the NL West’s first-place team signaled a turnaround for his Mariners, manager Mike Hargrove shook his head no, not yet.
“But it beats the alternative,” he said.
The Mariners lost all three games of a series that ended Thursday at Oakland. That dropped them to a season-low eight games under .500 and into a 57-minute postgame team meeting when the series ended.
Now, there’s some hope. Next up is Baltimore, followed by Minnesota. Both are below .500.
“Things are clicking right now,” Hargrove said.
Not for Park, who had entered the game having allowed one earned run in his previous 22 innings. That made the Padres think he was returning to the ace form from his Los Angeles Dodgers days of five years ago.
Think again. Park allowed 10 earned runs in 5 1-3 innings, the most earned runs he had allowed since June 21, 1998, for the Dodgers at Colorado.
“All I could do is get more innings to save the bullpen,” Park (2-2) said.
His troubles began when he gave up four straight singles to start the second inning and give Seattle a 2-1 lead. After Betancourt’s bunt, Ichiro Suzuki added a run-scoring single to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. Ibanez then golfed a low change-up for a three-run homer to make it 7-1. Everett added a solo shot to finish off the inning.
Park walked Richie Sexson with the bases loaded in the sixth to force in Seattle’s ninth run. Then Everett singled home Suzuki to make it 10-7, after San Diego had erased all but one run of the Mariners’ 8-1 lead.
That was because Felix Hernandez’s problems continued.
Hernandez (3-5) was in control with an 8-3 lead two outs into the sixth inning. But Geoff Blum’s swinging strike three was a wild pitch past catcher Kenji Johjima. Adrian Gonzalez then singled. Blum and Gonzalez both scored on Josh Barfield’s bloop double past diving center fielder Jeremy Reed. That made it 8-5.
Two pitches later, Dave Roberts hit his first home run of the season to bring San Diego within 8-7.
Hernandez, the 2005 rookie phenom, allowed a career-high seven runs in his six innings. He allowed 10 runs—five earned—in his previous start, at Oakland.
Hargrove traced some of Hernandez’s problems Sunday to him twisting his right ankle while stumbling on a pitch to Brian Giles in the third inning. The Mariners expect him to make his next start.
Pitching coach Rafael Chaves and a trainer came out to check on the 20-year old. He quickly waved them off, saying he was fine.
When asked what was encouraging about Hernandez right now, Chaves said, “The fact we won the game was encouraging to me. His teammates picked him up.”
Hernandez said he appreciated the support.
The one thing he is concerned about after allowing 17 runs in his last two starts?
“My luck,” he said, smiling.
The Mariners’ second inning was their biggest outburst since a 10-run inning on Aug. 30, 2003 against Baltimore. … Suzuki’s single in the second inning gave him the longest current hit streak in the major leagues. The 15 games ties for the longest in the AL this season. Cleveland’s Casey Blake and Victor Martinez have each had such streaks. … Roberts’ home run was his 20th in 574 major league games and first since last Oct. 8 in Game 3 of an NL division series against St. Louis. … A scoring change from Saturday night’s game gave Padres 2B Barfield a single in the eighth inning, eliminated an error from Jose Lopez and charged two additional earned runs to Seattle starter Gil Meche. That raised Meche’s ERA to 4.64.