The man is magical. He leaves for a decade and we spend the final eight years of the post-Griffey era in a playoff drought.
He returns, all of a sudden we’re winning again.
Griffey’s solo home run, his 400th as a Mariner, was the highlight of an 11-3 pasting of the California Angels of Orange County Wednesday night.
The momentous blast gave the M’s a one-run lead in the fifth inning, and required a curtain call by the 39-year-old slugger upon reaching the dugout.
But the fireworks weren’t just limited to Junior.
Immediately before Griffey stepped to the plate, left fielder Endy Chavez launched a solo homer of his own, which tied the game at two.
Another run in the sixth inning gave the Mariners a 4-2 lead, before the Angels countered in the top half of the seventh with a run, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
That’s when all hell broke loose.
The bottom half of inning number seven resulted in seven Mariner runs, capped off by an Ichiro Suzuki grand slam home run. That power surge gave the M’s an 11-3 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
On the defensive side of the ball, Jarrod Washburn gave the Mariners six strong innings of work, scattering four hits, allowing only two runs, and striking out four batters along the way.
Washburn was relieved by a shaky Miguel Batista in the seventh, who allowed a run to score without recording an out. Batista, however, was rescued by an impressive Shawn Kelley, who entered with two men on base before striking out two and shutting down the Angels in their half of the inning.
Kelley then returned to pitch the eighth, following the Mariners seven-run barrage, before handing the ball over to Mark Lowe in the ninth. Lowe secured the victory with a 1-2-3 final inning.
It’s just one more game, but it already feels like October around here. Our team is 7-2, with a secure grip on first place in the American League Western Division, and ready to make this one heck of a season.
Better secure your seat on the magic carpet right now, because it’s about to be a fun ride.