"I think we need to play these guys more," Seattle's center fielder said.
Finding a recent power surge against the Padres, Gutierrez led off the eighth inning with a solo homer off reliever Edward Mujica, and the Mariners won their 19th one-run game of the season, 4-3 over the Padres on Wednesday night.
It was Gutierrez's fourth homer in five games against San Diego this season. He hit three homers last week when the teams played in San Diego. Two of those homers came in a loss to the Padres.
This time, Gutierrez came through with the game-winner.
Ahead in the count 2-0, Gutierrez lined Mujica's fastball over the left-field wall, barely clearing the yellow stripe in front of the Mariners' bullpen for his seventh homer. He was the first batter to go deep on Mujica (2-3) since June 6 when Arizona's Justin Upton homered off the Padres' eighth-inning setup man.
"He got behind in the count and threw a fastball to a fastball hitter," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "He squared it up. That happens."
Russell Branyan added his 18th homer of the season in the second inning for Seattle, a three-run shot that erased the Padres' early 2-0 lead. While his two-run homer on Tuesday barely cleared the wall, there was no doubt about this 418-foot shot to center off starter Josh Geer. It was the 17th homer allowed this season by Geer.
"You never want to give up home runs, especially three-run homers. Those kill you," Geer said.
Seattle has won six of its last eight overall and improved to 19-13 in one-run games this season.
But this victory came with a cost. Seattle likely lost shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for at least two weeks after he injured his hamstring running out a groundball in the eighth inning. Manager Don Wakamatsu said Betancourt would have an MRI on Thursday but is likely headed for the disabled list.
Sean White (2-0) picked up the victory working the eighth, getting Scott Hairston to pop out to end the inning with Tony Gwynn Jr. at second base. David Aardsma pitched the ninth -- including striking out slugger Adrian Gonzalez -- for his 15th save in 16 chances.
"He's done a tremendous job in that bullpen role," Wakamatsu said. "He's getting the feeling of that first-year guy, he's getting a comfort level we like to see."
Kevin Kouzmanoff gave the Padres a 2-0 lead with his 10th homer in the second inning. After fouling off three straight 3-2 pitches, Kouzmanoff lined Morrow's ninth offering over the out-of-town scoreboard in deep left field.
After loading the bases in the first and getting a key putout at the plate when Hairston threw out Betancourt trying to score in the second, Geer settled down.
Following Betancourt's double in the third -- that missed being a homer by about a foot -- Geer retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced, allowing a walk to Betancourt in the sixth.
Morrow continued his transition from reliever to starter. On a pitch limit of 95, Morrow finished five innings having thrown 87, walking one and striking out four. But he missed out on a chance at his first win of the season when the Padres pieced together a run in the fifth.
"They didn't tell me there was going to be a pitch count or anything like that. I'm sure they had one in mind," Morrow said. "I just put that out of my mind and I was going to keep going. I felt pretty good even when they took me out."
Seattle C Kenji Johjima, currently recovering from a broken toe at Triple-A, could rejoin the team as early as Thursday and be activated when the Mariners start their road trip Friday in Los Angeles. ... Seattle 2B Jose Lopez is expected to come off the bereavement list on Thursday. Lopez traveled to Venezuela last week to be with his ailing sister who passed away.