Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 27th homer and robbed Juan Gonzalez of a three-run shot with a spectacular, over-the-fence catch as the Seattle Mariners closed out the Kingdome with a 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers yesterday.
With his father, Cincinnati Reds coach Ken Griffey, watching from the broadcast booth, Griffey gave the Mariners a 3-2 lead with a three-run homer in the first inning before a sellout crowd of 56,530 -- Seattle's first of the season. With two men on in the fourth, the nine-time Gold Glove winner leaped over the 8 1/2-foot wall in center to snare Gonzalez's drive for the final out of the inning.
"What a great day he had," Seattle Manager Lou Piniella said. "It was a great day for Junior and a great way to close out the Kingdome."
The Mariners played the 1,755th and final game at the Kingdome before moving into their new home, the $517 million Safeco Field, on July 15.
Griffey broke out of a 1-for-15 slump with his 377th career homer, including 198 in the Kingdome. He trails Sammy Sosa and Jose Canseco, who lead the majors with 28 homers each.
After Rusty Greer hit a two-run homer for Texas in the top of the first, the Mariners came back to take the lead in the bottom half.
Aaron Sele (7-6) gave up a single to Brian Hunter and a walk to Alex Rodriguez before Griffey homered over the right field wall.
WHITE SOX 7, RED SOX 6: Craig Wilson hit his first two home runs of the season, including a two-run shot in the ninth, as Chicago rallied on the road.
One day after scoring 11 first-inning runs in a 17-1 rout of the White Sox, the Red Sox built a 5-0 lead after two but could not hold on for the win.
"This just shows the character of our club after taking a beating like [Saturday]," said Wilson, who posted his second career multihomer game despite having only five career home runs.
Boston's Nomar Garciaparra, who is 25 for 48 during a 13-game hitting streak, drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double in the second.
The White Sox rallied for three runs in the ninth off Tim Wakefield (3-7), who blew his first save in eight chances in place of injured closer Tom Gordon. "I've never done this situation before," Wakefield said. "I'm doing this on a volunteer basis. I'd like to get back out there and redeem myself a little bit."
DEVIL RAYS 8, BLUE JAYS 0: Bobby Witt pitched a three-hitter for his first win in eight weeks and Fred McGriff homered for the third straight game to lead host Tampa Bay. Witt (4-4) snapped a streak of nine consecutive starts without a victory by limiting Toronto to two singles after Shannon Stewart led off the game with a double.
"It's been a long time since I've been out there for the ninth. It seems like I get a little extra adrenaline," Witt said. "I tried to reach back as much as I could."
The win was the first for Witt since May 1, when he beat the Detroit Tigers, 4-3. He struck out eight and walked three in the 10th shutout and 45th complete game of his career.
INDIANS 6, ROYALS 5: Richie Sexson and Manny Ramirez combined for five RBI, bailing out Dwight Gooden after the shortest outing of his 15-year career as Cleveland rallied on the road. Gooden gave up five runs on five hits and a walk, throwing just 28 pitches while getting only one out in the first.
But Sexson's two-run triple off Jeff Montgomery in the top of the seventh erased a 5-4 Kansas City lead and allowed the Indians to avoid their first four-game losing skid since last September.
TWINS 12, TIGERS 7: In Detroit, Denny Hocking went 5 for 6 with three doubles, Cristian Guzman drove in three runs and Brent Gates homered as Minnesota won its final game at Tiger Stadium. The Twins scored five runs in the first and finished with 17 hits off seven pitchers.
ANGELS 4, ATHLETICS 3: Randy Velarde, Todd Greene and Garret Anderson had RBI singles in the first inning as host Anaheim handed Oakland its fifth straight loss. Steve Sparks (3-5) got his first victory since May 29, a span of four starts. He allowed two runs on four hits and six walks in five-plus innings.
CAPTION: Dwight Gooden, right, with Richie Sexson, lasted one-third of an inning, giving up 5 hits and 5 runs.