D-backs let Mariners rally for win

D-backs let Mariners rally for win

SEATTLE -- The D-backs have struggled to finish off games all season long.

Friday night was no exception.

Ken Griffey Jr. brought many of the 27,319 at Safeco Field to their feet as he hit a clutch pinch-hit homer that keyed a four-run eighth-inning rally and the Mariners beat the D-backs, 4-3.

The loss snapped a modest two-game winning streak and kept the D-backs from keeping the positive momentum they had from Wednesday's team meeting going.

"We didn't keep the ball in the ballpark in the eighth inning," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. "It's a game we should win and it's a game that's frustrating to lose because we did everything to put ourselves in a position to win except close the game out."

Yes and no. True, the D-backs did grab an early lead, but they also weren't able to build on that, to finish off the Mariners. Instead, they allowed them to hang around until they were eventually able to claw their way back.

The D-backs scored a pair of runs in the third inning as they capitalized on a throwing error by Seattle starter Jarrod Washburn that easily could have been ruled runner interference instead.

Then one inning later, Miguel Montero homered to right to push the Arizona advantage to 3-0.

Then, well, nothing.

The D-backs did not manage another hit until two outs in the eighth when Justin Upton singled and only one more after that, on a two-out single by Eric Byrnes in the ninth.

"We had plenty of opportunities and never extended the lead, Montero's home run being the only one, and kept them in the ballgame," Hinch said.

D-backs starter Jon Garland kept the Mariners off the board through seven innings, even if it was not always pretty.

Seattle managed seven hits off him, but Garland found a way to get out of innings as he stranded six runners through four innings.

"I actually felt like I controlled the game a lot better than I have in the past," Garland said. "I didn't rush anything, even when guys got on instead of speeding things up, which resulted in good quality pitches."

After seven innings and 102 pitches, Hinch went to the bullpen to bring in lefty Scott Schoeneweis to face the left-handed-hitting Russell Branyan, who deposited a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right for the Mariners' first run.

Hinch once again went to the bullpen, this time for setup man Tony Pena.

The right-hander gave up a single to Adrian Beltre but retired the next two hitters. Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu then sent up Griffey to hit for Wladimir Balentien.

That prompted Arizona pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. to visit the mound. When asked if he thought about intentionally walking Griffey to get to Chris Woodard, Hinch said, "I don't think so. We didn't make pitches to keep the ball in the ballpark and it's a tie game. I don't want to put the winning run at the plate."

Pena tried to sneak a 97 mph fastball by Griffey on the first pitch, but Junior was ready for it and sent it into the bleachers in center. It was the 618th homer of his career and it tied the game at 3.

"Tried to get ahead," Hinch said of the home run pitch. "He's done it to lots of pitchers, not so much off the bench, because he's played every day during his career. It's no secret what he's trying to do there; that's why he's a future Hall of Famer."

Woodard followed the homer with a single and then Rob Johnson capped the inning with a triple to left.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.