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March 20, 2009 at 4:18 PM

Griffey homers, M’s still lose

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Ken Griffey Jr. is seen, above, rounding the bases after his two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning. Griffey had been 2-for-19 (.105) before the blast. That closed the gap to one-run, but an M’s rally came up short in the ninth and Seattle lost, 6-5, to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Mike Wilson, one of the heroes from last night, came up with runners at first and second and nobody out in the ninth.
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But Wilson, seen above, grounded into a double play. Chris Woodward then tapped a grounder in front of home plate (seen below) with the tying run on third and was thrown out at first to end the game.
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There were some positive points for the Mariners in this game, starting with the work by Mark Lowe after he’d given up a leadoff double in the eighth inning. After a sacrifice moved the runner over to third base, Lowe rallied with a groundout to the shortstop and a strikeout to escape the inning.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu was pleased with what he saw out of Lowe during the jam.
“It’s the first time I saw his ball really sink,” Wakamatsu said, “He mixed his pitches well and got out of that jam. So, that’s an encouraging thing.”
David Aardsma did not do so well, giving up a pair of homers and three runs in his inning of work. That’s the first real damage off him all spring. Randy Messenger also got tagged for a two-run homer. Who has the lead in the closer “race” for now? I’d say Lowe. But check back tomorrow.
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Wakamatsu had some good things to say about catcher Rob Johnson as well. Johnson had a home run and the manager felt he “showed some leadership” in helping pitchers work through trouble.
Hear all the important stuff from Wakamatsu right here on this clip.</form
"Being able to look at guys over a length of time, I feel a lot stronger about him than I did earlier,'' Wakamatsu said.
So, is Johnson major league ready?
"I feel he's pretty close,'' he said. "I probably wouldn't have said that about him the first couple of days I saw him.''
Wakamtsu also felt Griffey, seen below receiving applause as he left the field, is also slowly coming around with his swing. He didn't want to read too much into the hit, especially off a soft-tossing lefty, but it was an occasion in which he pulled the ball hard rather than swinging late and making poor connection to the left side — as has been the case as Griffey works through timing issues with his swing.

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Comments | Topics: Chris Woodward

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