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Last night was Ken Griffey Jr.’s first game back in Seattle, after leaving 8 years ago to play for Cincinnati. The Reds and Mariners are in different leagues and only play when the Interleague schedule pairs them together. Prior to the game, there was a special presentation for Griffey, highlighting his years in Seattle and bringing back past teammates, Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner, to help him celebrate. Safeco field was soldout, the first time this season. When Griffey walked onto the field there was a good two-minute standing ovation.
Once the game started, the Mariners were out of it pretty much from the start. After a few innings, the Reds were leading something like 8-0. Griffey was up to bat and the Mariners decided to bring in a new pitcher. Out comes Ryan Rowland-Smith, a rookie pitcher that was just called up from the minors. I gotta hand it to the Mariners. They bring up a kid and force him to make his major-league debut against one of the best hitters of all time. Rowland-Smith showed real signs of greatness though… in 5 pitches he strikes out Griffey Jr. and ends the inning. Of what ended up being a 16-1 final score whoopin’ of the Mariners, the emergence of Rowland-Smith as a possible future pitching phenom salvaged the spirit of the Friday evening fans. Griffey ended up with 3 strikeouts and 1 hit in his return. Not a great showing, but he still impressed the fans and everyone still had a great time.