SEATTLE -- Mike Sweeney immediately sensed relief when he walked in to Seattle's clubhouse Friday afternoon, thanks to a ninth-inning rally a day earlier.
"As a team, we could breath," Sweeney said after going out and breathing a little life into Seattle's sputtering offense.Sweeney homered twice and drove in six runs in the second-most productive game of his career, and the offensively challenged Mariners busted out for a 15-8 rout of the San Diego Padres to open interleague play.Sweeney's three-run homer in the second off Wade LeBlanc (2-2) capped a seven-run inning -- only the fourth time all season Seattle had scored at least seven runs in a game. Sweeney then added a two-run shot in the Mariners' five-run fifth inning, a startling offensive display from a team that scored 12 runs total during an eight-game losing streak in late April and early May."This is a good sign that we do have some life and we do have the ability to score some runs and win some games," Sweeney said.Josh Bard added a homer and two-run double for Seattle, which easily a scored a season-high in runs. Seattle had scored more than five runs once in the previous 19 games.The Mariners' offensive onslaught came a day after scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Toronto, capped by Ken Griffey Jr.'s game-winning pinch-hit single.And Sweeney was at the front of the hit parade.Getting regular time in the designated hitter spot with Griffey's continuing struggles, Sweeney's two blasts gave him five homers in his last six games. His six RBIs were the second-highest single-game total of his career, only trailing the seven he drove in on July 22, 2004, at Detroit.It was Sweeney's 17th multihomer game and first since 2005. Asked if Sweeney earned himself more playing time, Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu simply smiled."That was a pretty special day," Wakamatsu said.Cliff Lee (2-2) cruised to his second win with the Mariners, despite allowing 11 hits and seven earned runs in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked none.The left-hander admittedly "couldn't figure out how to get out" Padres All-Star Adrian Gonzalez, who had three doubles and a single -- all to left field -- against the former 2008 Cy Young winner. Oscar Salazar had two hits and three RBIs for the Padres.But Lee could afford to be at less than his best on this night."I didn't have my best stuff. I had to battle, but fortunately we erupted offensively and scored a lot of runs," Lee said.LeBlanc had already allowed five straight batters to reach base and four runs to score in the second when Sweeney drove a hanging curveball off the scoreboard at the back of Safeco Field's bullpens.Two innings later, and this time against reliever Cesar Ramos, Sweeney lined an 0-2 pitch again into the bullpens. That started another big inning for the Mariners, capped by Bard's two-run double that fell just in front of a diving Chris Denorfia in center field and Josh Wilson's RBI double.LeBlanc cruised through his first six starts of 2010, giving up two runs or less in each of those starts. But his one previous outing against Seattle also went badly, giving up four runs in 1 1/3 innings last season. Friday's meltdown featured six hits and eight earned runs in three innings. LeBlanc's career ERA against the Mariners stand at 24.90. His ERA for the season went from 1.54 to 3.32."If you were to tell me there would be 23 runs with [Wade] LeBlanc, the way he's been throwing, and Cliff Lee, I would have said no way," said San Diego manager Bud Black, who met with LeBlanc immediately after the game to give his pitcher a boost of confidence.
San Diego LF Jerry Hairston Jr. was ejected in the sixth inning, vehemently arguing with plate umpire Tim Welke after a called third strike. Hairston had to be separated from Welke by manager Bud Black and first-base umpire Jim Reynolds. ... The 15 runs were the most for Seattle at Safeco Field since 2002. ... San Diego has agreed to terms with infielder Duanel Jones, one of the top prospects out of the Dominican Republic. Jones, who turned 17 on May 11, is scheduled to begin workouts immediately at the Padres' Dominican Republic facility in Najayo, San Cristobal.