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Royals Limit Griffey and Stop Mariners

September 09, 1997|From Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In four plate appearances in the Kansas City Royals' 9-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Monday night, Ken Griffey Jr. saw maybe two good pitches.

At this rate, it will be almost impossible to get 11 homers in his last 18 games and catch Roger Maris' major league record of 61.

"I take one pitch at a time," said Griffey, who singled, walked and was hit by a pitch. "The only thing I don't want to talk about is home runs."

Griffey hit four homers in his four previous games to become the 15th man to hit 50 and make a charge at one of the baseball's most hallowed records.

The sparse Kansas City crowd cheered his every at-bat.

"I just want to go out there and help the team win. If that takes a walk, I'll take a walk. If it's get hit--I don't like to, but the more baserunners the better chance you have to win," Griffey said.

Despite their second consecutive loss, the Mariners remained four games ahead of the Angels in the AL West.

Hearing cheers in a foreign park "is a little different, a little unusual," Griffey said. When Jim Pittsley walked him on four consecutive pitches in the first inning, the crowd booed.

"Under the circumstances, I can see it," he said. "Everybody wants to see the home run. You know it's a big thing for baseball. You've got a couple of guys [he and St. Louis' Mark McGwire] going for something that's been standing for a while."

Griffey singled off Pittsley (4-7). In the sixth, left-hander Chris Haney's 2-1 pitch grazed him on the shoulder and put him on base in the sixth. In the eighth, Haney retired him on a first-pitch pop foul.

While Griffey failed to connect, three Royals did, including Chili Davis, whose three-run home run off Omar Olivares (6-10) raised his season total to 29, matching his career high. Jeff King also hit a three-run homer and Rod Myers added a solo shot as the Royals snapped a three-game losing streak.

"It ain't much of a career high," Davis said. "I like Griffey's career high."

Griffey, who hit 49 homers a year ago, has seven home runs in his last seven games and nine in 14. The son of former major leaguer Ken Griffey Sr. has 11 games left in the Seattle Kingdome, where he has hit 24 this year.

The bat flew out of Davis' hand during his at-bat in the sixth inning and struck Edgar Martinez in the Seattle dugout.

Martinez needed five stitches in his head, then singled in the eighth. After the game, the stitches were clearly visible where the bat hit him behind the left ear.

"I saw it when it left his hand. Then it got in the lights and I lost it," Martinez said. "I'm OK. Chili came inside to see if I was all right. That was a classy move by him."



WHO: Kansas City Royals

WHERE: Anaheim Stadium

WHEN: Thursday: 7 p.m.; Friday: 7 p.m.; Saturday: 1 p.m.

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