SEATTLE – If these are indeed the waning days of Ken Griffey Jr. in a Mariners uniform, he’s not saying. No matter how many times, or ways, he’s asked.
“I like how you change the phrases and try to trick me,” he said playfully to reporters as he parried questions about his future Sunday.
Griffey had just turned back the clock with a vintage power display as the Mariners staved off a playoff-clinching celebration by the Yankees with a 7-1 victory at Safeco Field.
Griffey’s most productive game of 2009 included a run-scoring double in the first and a three-run home run in the second – his 16th homer of the season, and 627th of his illustrious career.
Will that career, or at least the Seattle portion of it, end on Oct. 4, when the Mariners’ season closes out against Texas?
Griffey continues to say he’ll hold off on an announcement until after the final game.
“We have (12) games left. We’ll figure that out,” he said. “Right now, we have things to do, and that’s win games. At the end of the year, we’ll decide, and that’s it.”
Griffey shot down any notion that he would make an announcement before the final homestand, which begins Sept. 29.
“No. Because we still have games to play. That’s the most important thing,” he said.
Griffey reached Yankees starter Joba Chamberlain for a three-run blast on a 1-2 pitch in the second. That made Chamberlain the 405th pitcher to be victimized by Griffey, who turns 40 in November.
“When he hits a ball like he did today, you don’t see age,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “Watch his batting practice, and you see tremendous leverage. He still gives you a great at-bat.”
Griffey’s most demonstrative emotional display came after the game, when he and Mike Sweeney double-teamed rookie catcher Adam Moore. They hit Moore with ice cream in the face as he did a postgame interview. Moore had delivered his first career hit, a single to center, in the second inning.
Mariners starter Ian Snell credited Moore with settling him down early in the game when the Yankees were threatening.
“He seemed like a veteran out there, like he’s been doing it a while,” Snell said. “He was very calm. He came out and said, ‘Let’s go, let’s get these guys.’ I made some pitches and got out of the inning.”
In 5 1/3 innings, Snell gave up four hits and one run while walking four, raising his record to 5-2 in 10 starts for the Mariners.
Mariners 7, Yankees 1
|Hairston Jr. 3b||0||0||0||0||0||0||.242|
|Griffey Jr. dh||3||2||2||4||1||0||.219|
a-flied out for Cano in the 9th. LOB—New York 8, Seattle 4. 2B—Teixeira 2 (42), Posada (24), Jo.Lopez (38), Griffey Jr. (19). HR—Griffey Jr. (16), off Chamberlain. RBIs—Posada (77), F.Gutierrez (61), Jo.Lopez (91), Griffey Jr. 4 (50), Beltre (40). S—Jo.Wilson. SF—Jo.Lopez. RLSP—New York 5 (H.Matsui, A.Rodriguez, Me.Cabrera 2, Posada); Seattle 2 (Jo.Wilson, Beltre). GIDP—Jeter. DP—Seattle 1 (Jo.Wilson, Jo.Lopez, Carp).
|Chamberlain L, 8-6||3||6||7||7||3||2||69||4.73|
|Snell W, 5-2||5 1/3||4||1||1||4||2||105||4.53|
IR-S—Olson 2-0. IBB—off Chamberlain (I.Suzuki). WP—Chamberlain. T—2:50. A—35,885 (47,878).