Griffey's home run wakes up Mariners in 5-3 win over Twins
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Ken Griffey Jr. hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth inning Sunday to rouse the Seattle Mariners in a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins that stopped their six-game losing streak.
Wladimir Balentien added an RBI double in that breakthrough eighth, ruining seven shutout innings by Nick Blackburn and helping the Mariners bring their record back to .500.
Brendan Morrow, making his first appearance since April 23 after sitting out with biceps tendinitis, picked up his sixth save with a shaky ninth. He gave up a two-out RBI single to Joe Mauer and walked Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer on four pitches each, before getting Brendan Harris on a grounder to end the game after going to a full count.
The only four runs Morrow has given up this year have been at the Metrodome. Miguel Batista (2-0) got the last out of the seventh for the win.
Blackburn rebounded from his worst start of the season with his best, surrendering only five hits and a walk while striking out six against a Seattle lineup that produced a total of 10 runs in the previous five games.
But the Mariners broke out late, scoring half that many in the last two innings against a Twins bullpen that has been trying to steady itself for the better part of the past two years.
Jose Mijares walked Jose Lopez in front of Griffey's 614th career homer, and Jesse Crain (1-1) gave up three straight hits -- including a single by Russell Branyan that clipped off the top of first baseman Morneau's glove. Another run scored on a wild pitch, and Balentien's big hit off the top off the old blue trash bag in right field brought boos from the crowd.
Seattle's Erik Bedard minimized the damage, but he didn't exactly turn in a slump-stopping performance. It took him a season-high 110 pitches to complete a season-low 4 2-3 innings. Mauer walked and scored on a third-inning double by Morneau, who scored in the fifth on a two-out single by Cuddyer after moving up on a wild pitch.
Bedard still has not beaten the Twins in nine career starts.
Notes:@ Mike Sweeney, who has shared designated hitter duties with Griffey, hurt his lower back in his last at-bat of Saturday's game. But manager Don Wakamatsu said the injury, described as a minor muscle spasm, was in a different place than the one that kept Sweeney out for a few days in April. He should be able to play on Tuesday. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was groggy, but feeling a bit better after dizziness and chills sent him from the dugout to his office for the final six innings on Saturday. ... Mijares gave up his first home run in 16 1-3 innings in the majors. ... Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez was feeling fine after a rough start the night before. Wakamatsu, who took a team trainer to the mound to check on Hernandez at one point, said Sunday the problem was purely mechanical. "Trying to do too much," the manager said. ... Twins 3B Joe Crede (hamstring) sat out the whole series, but is expected in the lineup on Tuesday. ... Minnesota's Carlos Gomez has played sparingly of late, but he reached on a bunt single and made an over-the-head, tumbling catch in CF in the ninth.