SEATTLE — The House that Junior Built opened with a Seattle Mariner loss, thanks to another blown save by the Mariners' bullpen.
Jose Mesa wasted a ninth-inning lead by walking four batters Thursday night and the Mariners lost to the San Diego Padres, 3-2, in their Safeco Field opener.
The two stars most responsible for the stadium failed to drive in any runs as the Mariners lost their sixth in a row. Ken Griffey Jr. went one for three with a double and Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 4 before a sellout crowd of 44,607.
After 22 1/2 years in the dreary Kingdome, the Mariners finally played a home game outdoors, moving into a $517.6-million ballpark with a retractable roof. The roof was closed before the opening ceremonies, then was opened and remained open as fans watched in pleasant 60-degree weather.
Safeco Field is the latest in a new generation of ballparks that began opening when Toronto moved into the SkyDome in mid-1989. Since then, teams have moved into the new Comiskey Park in Chicago (1991), Camden Yards in Baltimore (1992), Jacobs Field in Cleveland (1994), Texas' The Ballpark in Arlington (1995), Coors Field in Denver (1995), Turner Field in Atlanta (1997) and Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix (1998).
Set to open next year are Detroit's Comerica Park, Houston's Enron Field, Milwaukee's Miller Park and San Francisco's Pacific Bell Park.
Trying to protect a 2-1 lead, Mesa (0-4) blew a save for the third time in 22 chances, the 13th in 34 opportunities for the Mariners this season.
He walked Ruben Rivera and pinch-hitters John Vander Wal and Ed Giovanola, loading the bases with no outs. After Dave Magadan struck out, Mesa walked Quilio Veras on a 3-2 pitch, and Eric Owens followed with a go-ahead sacrifice fly.
Will Cunane (2-0) got the final out of the eighth, and Dan Miceli pitched a perfect ninth for his second save, completing San Diego's 19th victory in 24 games.
Seattle starter Jamie Moyer gave up one run and seven hits in eight innings and struck out nine, giving up a bad-hop RBI single to Phil Nevin in the third.