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A Passing Thought Before Griffey's 28th

June 21, 1997|From Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas — Ken Griffey Jr. is respected so much that Texas Manager Johnny Oates thought about walking him with the bases loaded.

"If I had a 20-year contract I probably would have walked him," Oates said. "But the way we have been swinging the bats, I couldn't walk him with us just down [one run]."

Given the chance to bat, Griffey hit a grand slam for his major league-leading 28th homer, and the Seattle Mariners held on to beat the Texas Rangers, 5-4, Friday night.

Griffey connected off Bobby Witt (8-4) in the fifth inning for his ninth career grand slam, putting Seattle ahead, 5-0.

Griffey was reluctant to talk about his heroics.

"I don't know what pitch I hit," Griffey said. "It was a fun game, real close. I'm not going to talk about myself. It put us up and that's all I can say. Winning was great."

Griffey raised his American League-leading runs batted in total to 76 and his career total to 801.

"He's capable of breaking a game open, like he did," Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. "Sometimes we expect too much and that's unfortunate. With greatness comes expectation. And he's a great talent."

Bob Wolcott (3-4) gave up all four runs and six hits in five innings. Scott Sanders got three outs for his second save.

Witt (8-4) gave up five runs and seven hits in six innings.


Next Series for Angels

WHO: Texas Rangers

WHERE: Arlington, Texas

WHEN: Monday: 5:30 p.m., Tuesday: 5:30 p.m., Wednesday: 11:30 a.m.

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