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Padres rally from three-run deficit in ninth

6/21/2003

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The Seattle Mariners thought they had a matchup
they could handle when they walked Ryan Klesko with the bases
loaded and two outs in the ninth inning to get to Rondell White.

They guessed wrong. White hit a grand slam to give the San Diego
Padres a 5-3 win Friday night over the Mariners, the best team in
baseball.

White was mobbed at home plate by his ecstatic teammates after
hitting his third career slam, on a 2-2 slider from Jeff Nelson
(3-1) to left-center field. It was White's 12th homer this season.

"He's tough on righties. He's got one of the best sliders in
the game," White said. "I just got lucky that he hung one over
the plate. I guess I hit it pretty good. I'd been struggling all
night."

White had been 0-for-4 coming into that at-bat.

"I tried to get it away, but I left it over the plate," Nelson
said. "I knew he had a good swing. I was begging for it to stay
in."

One batter earlier, Nelson pitched around Klesko, walking the
slugger on a 3-1 pitch to force in San Diego's first run.

"Klesko is the guy you don't want to beat you," Seattle
manager Bob Melvin said. "We got the matchup we wanted."

With the Mariners leading 3-0, pinch-hitter Gary Matthews Jr.
started San Diego's five-run rally by beating out an infield
single. Nelson struck out the next two batters, but walked Mark
Kotsay and allowed Mark Loretta's single to load the bases.

Klesko's walk forced in San Diego's first run, bringing up
White.

"There's not a better feeling for the team than to win a game
like that, and I can't imagine what it feels like for Rondell,"
manager Bruce Bochy said. "You're pretty much shut down for eight
innings and you're down 3-0, to come back and win on a walkoff
grand slam, that's as good as it gets."

Mike Matthews (3-3) pitched the ninth for the Padres, who have
baseball's second-worst record.

Gil Meche had been in line to become a 10-game winner before
Nelson blew his third save.

Meche had allowed just five singles until being chased by
Loretta's double into the right-field corner leading off the
eighth. Meche struck out four and walked two. He also got his first
career hit when he beat out an infield single to third in the
sixth.

Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 16 games and
finished 3-for-5.

San Diego's Oliver Perez, making his second start since being
recalled from Triple-A Portland, struggled with his control. He
allowed three runs in the third, on three hits and three walks.

Suzuki hit a leadoff single and Perez walked the bases full with
one out. Mike Cameron hit an RBI single to left and former Padres
catcher Ben Davis had a two-run double past diving center fielder
Mark Kotsay.

Perez allowed four hits in five innings, walked six and struck
out five.

Game notes
Last July 5 against Minnesota, Nelson gave up five runs in
the top of the ninth, including a grand slam by Torii Hunter, in an
8-4 loss. ... With the Mariners playing in an NL stadium, DH Edgar
Martinez had to take a seat. Martinez does have 10 career starts at
NL stadiums in interleague play, all at first base, and he's hit
safely in all 10. ... The Padres agreed to terms with LHP Daniel
Moore, the club's second round draft pick. Moore went 7-3 with one
complete game and a 3.56 ERA in 17 games for the North Carolina Tar
Heels this year. .... Former major leaguer Jack McDowell and his
rock band, Stickfigure, played in the stadium's outer concourse
before the game. McDowell lives in the San Diego area. ... The
Padres are now 2-41 when trailing after eight innings.