Sweeney homers twice, drives in 6 runs as Seattle’s offense wakes up in 15-8 rout of San Diego

By Tim Booth, AP
Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sweeney’s 2 homers lead Seattle’s 15-8 rout

SEATTLE — Mike Sweeney homered twice and drove in six runs in the second-most productive game of his career, and the offensively challenged Seattle Mariners busted out Friday night for a 15-8 rout of the San Diego Padres.

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.

Josh Bard homered and lined a two-run double for Seattle.

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 couldn’t solve 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.

A day after coming alive for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Toronto, capped by Ken Griffey Jr.’s game-winning pinch-hit single, Seattle managed to win consecutive games for the first just the third time in a month.

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.

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 the Safeco Field 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.

The 15 runs were easily a season-high for Seattle, which had scored more than five runs once in the previous 19 games.

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.

NOTES: San Diego LF Jerry Hairston Jr. was ejected in the sixth inning, vehemently arguing with home 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.

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