On the night the number of Ken Griffey Jr. was retired in front of 45,618 at Safeco Field, the Mariners Saturday pulled out another icon from their past — a refusal to lose. Seattle rallied from another 3-0, first-inning deficit to beat the Angels for a second night in a row. SS Shawn O’Malley, LF Guillermo Heredia and RF Franklin Gutierrez homered to rally the Mariners for an 8-6 win (box).
in the seventh, O’Malley, a former Angel, gained a little revenge on the team that released him by giving the Mariners their first lead with a three-run homer. The two-out shot to right provided the 8-6 lead that the bullpen protected.
Closer Edwin Diaz earned his fourth save in five nights, thanks in part to a game-ending double play. Relievers Cody Martin, Drew Storen and Tom Wilhelmsen were factors in the win, especially after a weak start from Taijuan Walker.
On a night when the Mariners honored one of the best centerfielders in baseball history, another guy who’s making a push for that honor did most of the early damage. For the second night in a row, Mike Trout gave Los Angeles a 3-0 lead with a three-run homer in the top of the first. Trout, who added an RBI triple in the third, crushed a 1-2 pitch from Walker 444 feet into left. Walker, who returned from a month on the disabled list, allowed six runs off seven hits in four innings.
2B Robinson Cano recorded his 70th RBI of the season with a double in the first inning, then rookie Heredia hit his first career homer in the third. Gutierrez’s two-run shot in the fifth gave the Mariners momentum, then O’Malley delivered the big blow with his second homer in three nights.
“Junior changed the game and his influence can still be seen today. He is, without question, the greatest player to ever wear a Seattle Mariners uniform.” – Mariners president Kevin Mather
In an elaborate pre-game ceremony, the Mariners officially retired No. 24. The team announced that it will unveil a Griffey statue outside Safeco Field before the 2017 season. The ceremony included video messages from Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and famous No. 24s Kobe Bryant and Jeff Gordon. Appearances were made from some of Seattle’s greatest all-time sports stars: Pro Football Hall of Famers Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy, as well as ex-Sonics Gary Payton and Spencer Haywood. Also on hand was former Mariner Rickey Henderson, to whom Griffey addressed when he cracked: “Rickey, you were the greatest. Today, I am the greatest.” . . . The Mariners made two pre-game moves that could eventually add arms to their bullpen. Relievers Arquimedes Caminero (from Pittsburgh) and Pat Venditte (from Toronto) were acquired for players to be named later. Neither was in uniform Saturday. Venditte, the first ambidextrous pitcher to make it to the major leagues, was assigned to Triple-A Tacoma. Caminero, who had a 3.51 ERA in 39 appearances with the Pirates, had yet to be added to the active roster . . . The additions left relievers Donn Roach and Blake Parker in limbo, as both were designated for assignment. … The Mariners have yet to announce which left-hander, Wade LeBlanc or Ariel Miranda, will start Tuesday against the Tigers. With the return of Walker, Seattle has six starters in the rotation . . . The Angels designated former University of Washington star Tim Lincecum for assignment Saturday, opening the possibility that the former Cy Young Award winner pitched the final game of his career a few miles from his hometown. Lincecum, who grew up on the Eastside, was tagged for six first-inning runs Friday and has a 9.16 ERA as he tries to mount a comeback at 32.
The well-attended Ken Griffey Jr. weekend culminates with Replica Jersey Day at 1 p.m. Sunday, then fans will say goodbye to Junior again. LHP James Paxton, coming off his best start of the season, takes the mound for the Mariners. Paxton brings a 3-5 record and 3.93 ERA into a matchup with the Angels’ Matt Shoemaker (6-11, 4.08 ERA).