SEATTLE -- With his mom in town for a rare visit, Ken Griffey Jr. had to come up with a little something special.
Career homer No. 625 worked just fine.Griffey hit two-run drive off Oakland starter Vin Mazzaro in the fifth inning, and Seattle opened a key 10-game homestand with a 3-1 win over the Athletics on Monday night.Moments after Jose Lopez was plunked on the hip by Mazzaro's fastball, the young righty tried to sneak a 1-1 fastball past the aging slugger.Griffey, instead, made Mazzaro his 403rd home run victim in his 21st season, hitting a 384-foot shot into the right-center field seats for his 14th homer of the season and his second in two games.It was the first time Griffey has homered in consecutive games since Sept. 23 and 24 of last season while with the Chicago White Sox."She doesn't get to see too many games live," Griffey said about his mom, Birdie, whom he pointed to after crossing home plate to give Seattle a 3-0 lead. "She's going to take credit for that one."Lopez hit his career-high 18th homer in the third inning, a solo shot and his third homer in the last five games. Seattle has now homered in eight consecutive games, its longest such streak in nearly three seasons.Playing without right fielder Ichiro Suzuki for the first time since April 14, the Mariners started off their long homestand with solid pitching from Ian Snell and Griffey's long ball that brought the small crowd to its feet.Suzuki missed Monday's game with tightness in his left calf that flared up during Sunday's loss in Cleveland. Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu expects Suzuki to rest on Tuesday and hopes to get him back in the lineup Wednesday.Franklin Gutierrez filled in for Suzuki in the leadoff spot and had three hits, while Bill Hall took Suzuki's spot in right field, as Seattle stayed on the fringes of the AL wild-card race 7 1/2 games behind Boston.They stayed there largely because of Snell, who is finding a bit of comfort in the American League following his trade from Pittsburgh just before the July 31 trade deadline. Snell (2-1) kept Oakland hitless into the fifth inning, before Daric Barton got the A's on the board with a chopping single up the middle that eluded diving shortstop Jack Wilson."We were in the dugout just shaking our heads like 'this guy is unhittable.' It was just one of those days," Oakland's Jack Cust said.Oakland got a run back in the sixth on Kurt Suzuki's two-out RBI single to score Mark Ellis, but Snell avoided the big inning by getting Ryan Sweeney on a groundout.It was the only inning that Oakland threatened against the right-hander, who won his second straight with the Mariners, pitching six innings and giving up just four hits and one earned run, almost an identical line to his last start in Detroit, another 3-1 victory."It was hard for me to get accustomed to the league, but now I'm getting use to it," Snell said. "And I'm using my other pitches than my fastball now and it's throwing hitters off and helping out now."Sean White pitched two perfect innings of relief. Seattle closer David Aardsma had blown two of his last three save opportunities and gave up a leadoff double to Cust in the ninth. But he retired the next three batters, including a strikeout of Landon Powell to finish off his 29th save in 33 chances.Mazzaro (4-9) lost eight straight decisions at one point during his rookie season, but had won his last two. He struggled from the start, and Seattle's inability to capitalize with runners in scoring position was the only reason the game didn't get out of hand. The Mariners loaded the bases in the first and fourth innings and had two runners on in the second and failed to score each time.Mazzaro gave up five hits, walked four and struck out four.
David Cook, winner of the seventh season of American Idol, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Oakland OF Rajai Davis got the day off after his right thumb was hit as he attempted a bunt in Sunday's win over Detroit. Davis got X-rays at the stadium Monday night, manager Bob Geren said, but results were unavailable after the game. ... Wilson played for the first time since Aug. 12 when he had to leave in the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox with a pulled hamstring.