Giles, Iguchi lead Padres past Mariners
Right fielder collects four hits; second baseman has two RBIs
SEATTLE -- Windy City? Just maybe that chilly breeze that swirled throughout Wrigley Field earlier this week was caused by the glut of swings-and-misses that the Padres' bats produced more than anything atmospheric.
That wasn't the case on a unseasonably warm night at Safeco Field on Friday night, as the Padres put bat to ball more often than not, getting some pop from the top of their lineup in a 6-4 victory over the Mariners before a crowd of 35,586.
The Padres offense, no doubt still stinging from 29 strikeouts in a miserable two-game stretch against Chicago, strung together 14 hits, scored three runs in the first inning and got nine hits from the first three hitters in the lineup.
"Much better contact, better swings overall," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "Right out of the chute it was good to see three balls hit on the nose. ... All in all, it was a good offensive night. We need more of them."
For a team that ranks at or near the bottom in about every pertinent offensive category in the Major Leagues, this display was not only warmly embraced, but necessary, against the Mariners (16-27).
The hitting started early as the Padres (16-27) opened the game with a triple into the right-field corner by Jody Gerut, an RBI single by Tadahito Iguchi and the first of four hits by Brian Giles, this being an RBI double off Miguel Batista (3-5).
"The guys came out and swung the bats well," Padres pitcher Chris Young said. "They gave me such a big margin for error. I needed it. They picked me up."
Young (4-3), staked to a 4-0 lead heading to the bottom of the second inning, got himself into trouble that frame -- allowing three runs, including a two-run home run when Seattle catcher Kenji Johjima connected with a misplaced slider.
But Young, who allowed four hits and two walks in that particular inning, looked like a much different pitcher thereafter. He allowed one hit after the second inning and retired 12 of the final 14 hitters he faced in a six-inning outing.
The key wasn't so much his fastball, which had good life through the strike zone, but his ability to harness and get better tilt on his slider -- a pitch that gave him fits in that second inning, but one that he relied on later.
"I got my slider going ... I started to get on top of it and get better tilt," said Young.
As Young found his slider, the Padres continued to pound away at Seattle pitching. Gerut finished with two hits and hit two other balls hard that were turned into outs. Iguchi, who had three hits, had a solo home run in the second inning.
Then there was Giles, who doubled in a run in the first inning and then gave the Padres a 6-4 lead in the sixth inning when he greeted left-handed relief Ryan Rowland-Smith -- who entered the game just to face the left-handed hitting Giles -- with an infield single that gave Gerut time to score from third base.
"We're due to go through one of those streaks where everything snowballs," Giles said.
That's certainly the shared sentiments of the staff, which likely didn't envision many nights where 14 hits would carry the Padres, although it certainly didn't think 29 strikeouts in two games would happen either.
"We feel as a staff, and the players feel, that we should have more nights like tonight. You are going to have your bad games, but we think the talent is there to have more games like this," Black said.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.