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08/05/08 3:15 AM ET
Perfect 10: Ibanez ignites Mariners
Left fielder sets club record with six RBIs in huge inning
By Jim Street / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- Four days after almost being traded, Mariners left fielder Raul Ibanez on Monday night erased one of the many club records held by Ken Griffey Jr. And he did it in grand-slam style, becoming the first player in franchise history to drive in six runs in one inning. Griffey drove in five runs against the Tigers on April 29, 1999. The first swing Ibanez took in the Mariners' most productive inning of the season sent a Glen Perkins pitch into the right-field bleachers for a bases-loaded home run, and the last swing he took in the same inning, also with the bases loaded, delivered a two-run single, capping a 10-run outburst that shot Seattle to an 11-6 victory over Minnesota in front of 27,758 at Safeco Field. "I wasn't even sure it was the same inning," Ibanez said. "You're kind of playing the game and not really thinking about any of that [bases-loaded] stuff." The home run was Ibanez's 16th of the season and 62nd of his career at Safeco Field, tying him with former second baseman Bret Boone for the most at the 8 1/2-year-old facility. Ibanez has seven career grand slams. And to think he might have been playing left field for the Blue Jays on Monday night. According to Blue Jays club officials, they had worked out a deal with the Mariners for Ibanez prior to last Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. But a Seattle club official nixed the proposed swap. "Don't really think about that stuff, but my wife is seven months pregnant and she was thinking about it," Ibanez said. "She was thinking about it a lot more than I was, and she was definitely relieved. My 6-year-old son called me and said, 'Daddy, we didn't get traded.' "I was thinking, 'What's this 'we' stuff, pal? You weren't going to have to fly anywhere,'" Ibanez said, smiling. "For me, I'd have to change uniforms and play, but my wife was certainly well aware of everything that was going on." Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said he wasn't sure how close he was to losing his top run producer. "I know that we value him so much that it was going to be a high price from our end to lose someone like Raul Ibanez," Riggleman said. "It's the same with [Adrian] Beltre. Those two guys are two of the finest people I have been around in baseball, and someone would have to come on strong to get them from us." And both were instrumental in the double-digit uprising. Beltre greeted Twins reliever Brian Bass with a double and scored the tying run when Jose Lopez blooped a single into shallow right-center field. After a popup and a walk to pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo, Jeff Clement batted for Kenji Johjima and drilled a first-pitch single into right field to score Lopez and give Seattle a 7-6 lead. "I had gotten a lot swings the two or three previous innings in the cage," Clement said. "I was trying to get game-ready just in case something like that would come up. And after Raul hit that ball and everybody was getting those hits before I got up there, it gave me a chance to get in a big situation. "So without what we did leading up to that, my hit wouldn't have meant as much. But it was great to come through in a big situation."
Ibanez was impressed with all the help he had in the inning.
"There were a lot of good at-bats," he said. "It was a collective effort. Everybody did their part, didn't let up and kept battling."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire went to his bullpen three times in the inning.
"Perkins had some guys 0-and-2 and gave up a couple of base hits and then just threw one down the middle of the plate and gave up the grand slam," Gardenhire said. "Then the bullpen came in and just gave up hits and had balls flying everywhere. Before you knew it, there was a 10-run inning, and it was pretty disappointing."
The 10-run seventh saved the night for the Mariners, but you have to wonder if it saved right-hander Miguel Batista's spot in the starting rotation.
Batista wobbled through three-plus innings, surrendering seven hits and six runs.
In 19 starts this season, Batista has pitched into the sixth inning just five times, a far cry from a year ago, when he went at least that far in 23 of his 32 starts en route to a club-high 16 wins.
Meanwhile, down the road about 30 miles in Tacoma, left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith was making his third start and pitched well in a six-inning stint against Albuquerque. The reliever-turned-starter surrendered just two runs while throwing a season-high 101 pitches.
He's ready to rejoin the Mariners.
"We have been and will continue to monitor how he's doing," Riggleman said. "We want to get him up here, but we don't have any timetable. We'll keep discussing it and see when the right time is and how we make adjustments on the roster when it happens."
Right-hander Roy Corcoran notched the win on Monday night by pitching one inning.
"I've never had that happen before -- throw 10 pitches and we score 10 runs in one inning and I get the win," Corcoran said. "If there's anybody to [talk] about doing a good job, it would be Jake Woods. The guy went out there and threw the ball real well for three innings."
Woods allowed four hits, but no runs in relief of Batista. Lefty reliever Cesar Jimenez and right-hander Mark Lowe each worked one scoreless inning to wrap it up.
|"There were a lot of good at-bats. It was a collective effort. Everybody did their part, didn't let up and kept battling."|
|-- Raul Ibanez|
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.