SAN DIEGO – The Seattle Mariners were living by one credo against the Padres: Don’t let Adrian Gonzalez beat us.
So what happened Thursday at Petco Park? They let Adrian Gonzalez beat them.
Technically, it was Kevin Kouzmanoff who did the final damage, delivering a single off Miguel Batista with two outs in the 10th to score Gonzalez from second and lift the Padres to a 4-3 victory.
But it was Gonzalez, the stalwart in an otherwise anemic San Diego offense, who powered this Padres victory – one that broke their 13-game interleague losing streak and their 10-game losing streak to the Mariners at Petco.
“The biggest thing in this game is we let Gonzalez beat us,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “You go in with a game plan knowing this is the guy that can do the most damage. We were trying basically to pitch around him. That’s the frustrating part.”
Gonzalez had a solo homer in the sixth off Chris Jakubauskas that tied the game at 3-all, a drive to center that barely eluded a leaping Franklin Gutierrez. It was his 23rd of the season, tying Gonzalez with Albert Pujols for the National League lead, and his first since June 2.
Gutierrez, the Mariners’ offensive star with two solo homers, just barely missed adding a defensive highlight to his day’s work. The ball glanced off his glove as he leaped at the wall, but he wasn’t certain he had missed it until he took a peek upon landing.
In the 10th, Batista got two quick outs, but Gonzalez hit a booming double to center, his fourth hit of the game. On a 3-1 pitch, Kouzmanoff hit a soft liner into left, and Gonzalez scored easily to hand the Mariners their fifth loss in nine games of this trip.
Missing Russell Branyan and Jose Lopez, their two top home-run hitters, the Mariners turned to Gutierrez to be their power source. Gutierrez provided the first two-homer game of his career with solos in the fourth and sixth innings. He had three homers in the series – one to each field.
Branyan was attending the funeral of his grandfather in Georgia, while Lopez was placed on bereavement leave to visit his sister in Venezuela. She is ailing with cancer. Branyan and Lopez have combined for 25 homers this season.
In his second start of the season, Brandon Morrow lasted four innings, one more than he had last Saturday against the Rockies in his 2009 starting debut.
Morrow threw 74 pitches, nearly one-third coming in a struggling 24-pitch first inning. The Padres touched him for three hits and two runs in the inning, including Gonzalez’s RBI single.
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