Padres 7, Mariners 1
When Adrian Gonzalez launched a two-run homer off Cliff Lee in
the first inning, all of the San Diego Padres got a lift.
Gonzalez’s shot and a strong outing from starter Wade LeBlanc
helped the Padres to a 7-1 win over Seattle on Saturday night, the
Mariners’ fifth straight loss.
The home run by the streaking Gonzalez came after LeBlanc
escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the first.
“I think everybody in this stadium can sense a shift after
Gonzo’s homer,” LeBlanc said. “It’s huge, especially against a
guy like Cliff Lee. If you can get some early runs, get to him
early because once he settles down, it’s tough.”
Lee (4-3) proved that by retiring the final 11 batters he
But LeBlanc (4-4) provided his club with a big boost in the
first by first getting Jose Lopez to ground into a
third-to-home-to-first double play. After intentionally walking a
batter to load the bases again, the left-hander retired Josh Wilson
on a fly ball.
“That was huge,” Gonzalez said. “It just picks you up,
especially in the first inning. Everyone is trying to get into the
groove of the game and something like that just gets you
Said LeBlanc: “That’s not the ideal way you want to start off
the game but that’s the way it happened. Fortunately, everything
Oscar Salazar added a pinch-hit three-run shot, his first home
run of the season, to break open the game in the eighth.
It added up to Seattle’s eighth loss in nine games. It also led
to a Mariners’ players-only meeting after the game.
“We have to turn it around,” Lee said. “It’s about time to
snap out of it, but it is what it is. We’ve got to do a better job
of executing, and that’s everybody.”
The Mariners tied their season high by stranding 12 runners.
Seattle also loaded the bases with one out in the eighth off Mike
Adams. But Adams retired consecutive pinch-hitters, striking out
Michael Saunders and getting Casey Kotchman on a grounder.
“That’s two nights in a row that we’ve had a pretty good
starting pitching performance and our offense has squandered it,”
Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said. “We came out of the gate early
and aren’t able to score. With Cliff Lee on the mound and the way
he’s been pitching, it’s a totally different ball game.”
Over his last 13 games, Gonzalez is batting .412 (21 for 51)
with five homers, 15 RBIs and 10 runs scored. He is 7 for 9 against
Lee, including seven straight hits.
Gonzalez’s first-inning home run was only the second surrendered
by Lee this season.
“I got behind 2-0 there and threw a cutter and he hit it out,”
Lee said. “He’s a great hitter. For whatever reason, I’ve had
trouble against him.”
LeBlanc pitched his second strong game after a four-game losing
streak. The lefty got through six innings, allowing one run on
seven hits and stranding eight baserunners.
Lee gave up three runs and seven hits in seven innings.
With the win, the Padres clinched the season series over Seattle
for the first time since 2004.
“We lost another game and the frustration is really growing
even more at this point,” Wilson said. “We’ve got to do something
to break it.”
Gonzalez’s homer was his 14th this season, but just five have
come at Petco Park.
Ichiro Suzuki got the Mariners on the board in the second when
he hit a bloop single to score Rob Johnson, who had doubled.
NOTES: Salazar has five career pinch-hit homers. … Lee had
worked at least eight innings in his previous three straight
starts, including a complete-game win in his last start. … San
Diego won its second straight interleague home game after having
lost 12 of their previous 14 coming into the series. … Seattle
LHP Luke French, recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Sunday, will
replace struggling RHP Ian Snell in the starting rotation. …
Padres bench coach Ted Simmons was the interim manager while Bud
Black attended his daughter’s graduation on Saturday from Oregon