Ken Griffey Jr. is in the zone.
“He’s locked in,” Alex Rodriguez said. “He could probably go out and shoot jumpers and hit 15 in a row.”
Griffey’s two-run triple tied the game and he scored the go-ahead run on Edgar Martinez’s sacrifice fly in the seventh inning Monday night as the Seattle Mariners beat Kansas City 6-5.
Griffey had four RBIs, giving him a major-league high 25 this season. His 20 runs scored lead the A.L.
Said manager Lou Piniella: “Let’s be honest about it. That’s why he’s a superstar.”
The Royals’ Jeff King hit a two-run homer off Bobby Ayala in the top of the seventh after Seattle starter Randy Johnson failed to hold a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Brian Bevil (0-1) took over for Jose Rosado and walked pinch-hitters Joey Cora and Paul Sorrento before Rodriguez hit into a fielder’s choice with Cora out at third.
Griffey followed with his first triple of the season into the right-field corner and then slid home after Martinez’s shallow fly ball to Johnny Damon in right field.
Rodriguez, last year’s A.L. batting champion, said he was stretching out at first base when Griffey came to the plate, but he didn’t expect to have to run hard.
“The way he’s going, I thought it was going to be a home run,” Rodriguez said.
Seattle’s ninth-come-from-behind win of the season left Royals manager Bob Boone mumbling about the Kingdome.
“In this building, with (Mariners hitters) two through six, no lead is safe,” he said.
Ayala (1-0) got the win with an inning of relief thanks to Griffey. Norm Charlton pitched the ninth for his sixth save.
Johnson, the 1995 American League Cy Young Award winner coming back this season after back surgery last Sept. 12, led 3-0 as Griffey drove in two runs in the first five innings.
The Royals tied it with three runs in the sixth as Johnson walked two, threw a wild pitch and gave up three hits.
“I think it was very apparent that I didn’t have anything much today,” Johnson said. “But I’m not going to have a 98 mph fastball every day.”
Johnson gave up three runs on five hits and five walks, while striking out five. He threw 108 pitches as his his ERA went up from 2.84 to 3.24.
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