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June 19, 2009 at 11:42 PM

Ken Griffey Jr. homer leads Mariners to comeback victory; Endy Chavez likely knee ligament damage

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Ken Griffey Jr. was the story tonight, the shot about showing him taking D-Backs pitcher Ramon Pena over the wall in right center with a game-tying homer in the eighth. Rob Johnson then helped win it later that inning with an RBI triple down the left field line.
So, a dramatic 4-3 win by the M’s. They trailed 3-0 heading into the eighth.
“He was great, he just jumped on that ball,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “He looked like he was 18.”
Griffey was low-key, as usual, afterwards. He talked about the tribulations of pinch-hitting. The waiting that’s involved.
He wasn’t surprised the D-Backs tried to pitch to him.
“With a two-run lead, I’ve got to hit it out to tie, so…,” he said with a shrug.
It’s been a struggle at times for Griffey this year. Moments like tonight’s have been few and far between. So, while he made dismissive jokes, saying the thing he thought about as he rounded the bases was “Don’t fall down!” this likely meant a lot. Same with the curtain call from fans. This is a big reason he returned here. Sure, he wants to win. But these are the moments everyone had been hoping to see — at least, more often than they’ve seen a .220 batting average so far.
“There are good days and bad days,” he said. “Every day you have to work and keep going…I’ll just make some adjustments and hopefully I can continue.”
Wakamatsu summed it up best.
“When Griff hit the home run, I don’t know who was more excited, Griff or myself,” he said. “That was baseball at its finest right there.”
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Endy Chavez is probably seriously hurt after his knee collided with Yuniesky Betancourt in the fifth inning.
“All indications are not good,” Wakamatsu said. “He’s going to have an MRI tomorrow. He’ll have a full medical on it, but it looked like he hurt it pretty bad.”
The team suspects he has ligament damage and will be done for quite a while. No word yet on any moves. The team is discussing it as we speak. Maybe Michael Saunders does get the call from Class AAA. He’s a lefty bat and they need one.
Jarrod Washburn felt much better in this game than prior outings. His back was a little stiff, but the pain was something he could manage. His knee, he added, was about what it’s been for the past month.
The biggest damage came when he didn;t get an umpire’s call at first base in the third inning. With two on and none out, his throw to first on a bunt hit Stephen Drew in the back. Washburn and Wakamatsu immediately went over to argue that Drew had broken his baseline. But the umpire at first base, Ted Barrett, was having none of it.
“He told me to shut up or he was going to throw me out,” Washburn said. “I saw the runner inside the baseline, He wasn’t in that box, or whatever, that he’s supposed to be running in.”
Only two of the runs Washburn allowed were earned. His ERA is down from 3.30 to 3.24, despite a 3-6 record because of run support that didn’t come tonight until he was out of the game.
But it was all worth it. Washburn described hearing the crowd roar ahead of the delayed broadcast feed of the game as he stood undressing and icing his arm in the clubhouse.
“i could hear the crowd before the hit and I was looking at the TV saying ‘What’s going to happen?’,” he said. “Griff hit the homer, then the crowd got loud again, then another hit and a stolen base. It made me want to run out there in my underwear to see what was going on so I didn’t have to deal with the delay.”
Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Thanks to Griffey, the Mariners already had their Kodak moment.
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