SEATTLE – It started so routinely between the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres on Tuesday night at Safeco Field.
The Mariners pulled their minimalist practice of turning three hits and a walk into one run in the second inning, and the Padres got a two-run homer from – who else? – Adrian Gonzalez in the fourth before scoring two more runs in the fifth off fading Mariners starter Garrett Olson.
Nothing more than two low-scoring teams getting their quota out of the way early? Not this time.
The Padres pulled off something akin to the old Monty Python Spanish Inquisition skit in the sixth inning of what became a 9-7 victory over the Mariners. They dragged out the soft pillows and comfy chairs in that inning, dinking and blooping their way to a five-run rally.
It wasn’t over until the Padres squashed two late rallies by the Mariners, who scored four runs in the eighth and one in the ninth, but it was decided in the sixth.
“It got out of hand in the sixth inning,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “To score six runs in the last four innings and five in the last two shows we’re not going to quit.”
The only ball the Padres blistered in the sixth was Chase Headley’s ground-rule double down the right-field line with one out.
Until then, the Mariners’ brightest moment came from Ken Griffey Jr.
His solo home run in the sixth inning seemed important at the time only because of its historic value. It was the 5,000th home run in franchise history, 406 of them by Griffey, and eight of those this season. It made the score 9-3.
The Mariners did pull together a rally themselves, scoring four times in the eighth inning off Padres reliever Greg Burke. Branyan’s two-run homer, his 17th this season, was the big blow.
Padres closer Heath Bell pitched the ninth to record his 20th save.
The Mariners optioned left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith to Class AAA Tacoma. … Pitcher Erik Bedard played catch for seven minutes and his shoulder felt fine. Manager Don Wakamatsu said he expects Bedard to start one of the games next week in New York. … Second baseman Jose Lopez is expected to return today from Venezuela, where he spent five days with his seriously ill sister before she died.