Griffey homers off 400th different pitcher
Rangers' Hunter surrenders Junior's 622nd career dinger
ARLINGTON -- Ken Griffey Jr. added Rangers right-hander Tommy Hunter to his long list of home run victims in the Mariners' 7-2 win on Saturday night at Rangers Ballpark.Hunter became the 400th big league pitcher to surrender a home run to Griffey, who sent a full-count pitch onto the grass in center field for a three-run homer in the first inning. It was Griffey's 11th of the season (the first since July 1 against the Yankees in New York) and 622nd of his career. The blast also scored Ichiro Suzuki and Jose Lopez, who were aboard via a single and walk, respectively, making the score 3-0.
Griffey went 3-for-5 and drove in three runs, falling a triple short of the cycle. Griffey never has hit for the cycle, but he let it be known that if he came to bat in the ninth inning and got a hit, he would not stop running until he reached third.
But he was in the on-deck circle when Lopez, who also fell a triple short of the cycle, grounded into an inning-ending double play.
"My plan was go to third and not even touch the other two bags," Griffey said. "No reason to waste a whole lot of energy."
Griffey, who is fifth on the all-time home run list and the leader among active players, had said before the game that he was "getting better passes" at the ball.
"This is as good as I have seen him in a while," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "He stood in there with a lot of confidence tonight."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.