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Padres win as Grandal returns from suspension

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- A pair of home runs from the San Diego offense was all that Padres starter Edinson Volquez needed Tuesday night, but just as important was the return of a familiar glove behind the plate.

On a night when catcher Yasmani Grandal returned from a 50-game suspension, Volquez pitched his most effective game of the season. The veteran allowed just four hits and one run in his longest outing of the year, going 7 2/3 innings to beat the Seattle Mariners 6-1.

"He called the game like he's been here forever," Volquez said of Grandal, who was penalized for violating the league's joint drug prevention and treatment program. "It was a good thing. When you've got a catcher and pitcher together on the same page, that's good."

Rookie Jedd Gyorko hit his sixth home run of the month, and Alexi Amarista also homered for the Padres, who had nine hits a day after getting just four in a 9-0 loss to Seattle. Mark Kotsay drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the sixth.

San Diego (23-28) tagged Mariners starter Brandon Maurer for nine hits and six runs -- five earned -- in 5 2/3 innings. Maurer (2-7) has a 6.93 ERA in his first major league season after skipping the Triple-A level in his ascent.

"This is definitely a challenging level," Maurer said when asked what he's learned from his first 10 starts with the Mariners.

Volquez (4-5) had a veteran-like performance, throwing a season-high 105 pitches before coming out of the game after a two-out single by Seattle's Kyle Seager in the eighth.

He got help from two putouts at home plate -- one on a bases-loaded grounder in the second, the other on a relay throw from shortstop Everth Cabrera to gun down Michael Morse as the Mariners' right fielder tried to score from first on a Michael Saunders double in the fourth.

Morse suffered a strained right quadriceps on the play as he rounded third base. He eventually came out of the game and said afterward that he'll probably miss a day or two. The teams begin another two-game series in San Diego on Wednesday night.

"It's just one of those fluke things," Morse said of the injury.

Gyorko, a 24-year-old rookie, didn't hit his first career home run until May 1. He's the fourth San Diego rookie to hit six home runs in a month and the first to do it in May.

He gave the Padres their first lead with a two-out, two-run homer in the fourth inning. That put San Diego ahead 2-1, and by the sixth inning the lead had swelled to 6-1. The Padres went down 1-2-3 in each of the final three innings.

It marked the ninth loss in 11 games for Seattle (22-30).

Volquez had some control issues in the second inning, when he gave up a single and back-to-back walks to load the bases with no outs. He ended up allowing just one run, on a Jesus Sucre sacrifice fly, that put Seattle ahead 1-0.

The Padres got their first two runs on Gyorko's homer in the fourth. That came after Carlos Quentin kept the inning alive with some nifty baserunning to avoid an inning-ending double play. Quentin was on first base when Grandal hit a one-out groundball toward second base. Quentin stopped midway between first and second, forcing a throw to first, then barely beat the throw back to second base.

Gyorko then homered to left field, giving San Diego a 2-1 lead.

The Mariners had a chance to tie the score in the bottom of that inning, when Saunders followed a Morse single with a deep drive into the gap in left-center field. Morse was easily thrown out trying to score, while Saunders was credited with a double despite ending up at third base. Volquez struck out Nick Franklin looking to end the inning.

Amarista added a solo home run with two outs in the top of the fifth, giving San Diego a 3-1 lead. It was Amarista's fourth home run of the year and the 10th allowed by Maurer.

Volquez earned his first win since May 5.

"The efficiency stood out," Padres manager Bud Black said of Volquez's performance. "I thought the breaking ball really came into play tonight. That's the best hook he's had all year."

Black added that the return of Grandal behind the plate might have helped Volquez.

"Those guys have great rapport," he said. "It dates back to their days in Cincinnati (as minor league teammates). You can make a case for really knowing a guy."

NOTES: To make room on the roster for Grandal, the Padres optioned C John Baker to Triple-A Tucson and designated injured INF Edinson Rincon for assignment. ... Gyorko joins Nate Colbert (September 1969), Benito Santiago (August 1987) and Will Venable (August 2009) as the only Padres rookies to hit six home runs in any month. ... Seattle 1B Justin Smoak missed his third consecutive game due to an oblique strain. ... Franklin, a top prospect who made his major league debut Monday afternoon, went 0-for-4 in his first start. ... With his infield single in the second inning, Mariners DH Kendrys Morales has now hit safely in eight consecutive games.
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