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Griffey Jr. Now 7th All-Time

SEATTLE (AP) -- Ken Griffey Jr. enjoyed the final day of his Seattle homecoming so much he was still laughing in the Reds dugout and wearing a collared shirt and blue jeans 40 minutes before the first pitch.

It didn't seem to affect his swing.

Griffey hit two home runs to pass Mark McGwire for seventh place on the career list in the Cincinnati Reds' 3-2 loss to the Mariners on Sunday.

"When the game starts, it starts," he said. "Everything else, like (Allen) Iverson says, 'It's just practice."'

Griffey quickly changed into his uniform and homered in his first at-bat against Miguel Batista. He then hit No. 584 in the fifth inning off Batista to pass McGwire.

"You play long enough, you hit a few out and you catch people," Griffey said.

His 20th and 21st homers of the season came before a third consecutive sellout crowd that gave him a standing ovation before three of his four at-bats. The fans roared again as Griffey waved and tipped his cap after he caught the final out of the bottom of the eighth.

"It was eventful, there was a buzz," Seattle's Willie Bloomquist said of Griffey's trip back. "There were times when it felt like we were the visiting team. That was just a tribute to what he did for this city. I don't think there was an at-bat when he didn't get a standing ovation."

The support was almost overwhelming for the slugger, who hinted he may return yet again to be a Mariner again before he retires.

Griffey didn't specify whether he would like to join Seattle as an active player or simply in a ceremonial contract signing. He is signed through 2008 with Cincinnati, part of a $116.5 million, nine-year deal he signed after the trade in February 2000, when he demanded a return to his hometown.

The Reds hold an option for $16.5 million in 2009, with a $4 million buyout.

"You always want to retire with the team you started with. I mean, you look at Emmitt Smith and everybody else," the 37-year-old former Seattle icon said.

The former Dallas Cowboys star running back came back from a stint with the Arizona Cardinals to sign again with Dallas and then retire.

"But I've still got a few more years," Griffey said. "So I don't think it's anytime soon."

When asked to clarify whether he'd like to play again for Seattle, Griffey said: "I don't know. That depends on a lot of things, health and everything else."

Ben Broussard hit a two-out, two-run double off Bronson Arroyo in the sixth inning to tie it and Willie Bloomquist executed a perfect suicide squeeze in the seventh to put Seattle ahead.

Eric O'Flaherty (4-0) pitched a scoreless seventh to get the win and J.J. Putz got four outs for his 21st save in as many chances.

The last-place Reds lost for the fourth time in six games.

Arroyo (2-9) dropped his seventh consecutive decision despite allowing three runs or fewer for the fourth time in the skid. He gave up 10 hits, struck out four and issued an intentional walk.

Griffey also made a running, tumbling catch in right field -- a position he asked back into before the game instead of his original assignment as designated hitter.

"It wouldn't be fair to the people of Seattle to just DH," he said, after asking manager Jerry Narron to put him back in right field.

In the first inning, Griffey hit a 2-0 pitch from Batista to left-center. The slugger took a step and hopped in anticipation of a home run that he had said he hoped to hit this weekend at Safeco Field, "The House that Griffey Built." The ballpark opened in 1999 -- the last full season Griffey played in Seattle.

As Griffey's high drive dropped toward the wall, left fielder Bloomquist leaped and appeared to catch it. For an awkward moment, no one knew if Griffey had homered or flied out to end the inning. Third base umpire Brian Runge was in the outfield but made no signal. Bloomquist had no reaction. Griffey simply stood between first and second. And the stood in odd silence.

Finally, when Bloomquist began walking back to his position without the ball in his glove, Runge signaled home run and the crowd cheered Griffey's 15th career home run at Safeco.

Griffey called it the weirdest of his 584 homers.

The second one was vintage Griffey, a no-doubt drive in the fifth reminiscent of the many he launched at the since-demolished Kingdome across the street. He jumped all over Batista's first pitch fastball and sent it rocketing off an advertisement lining the second deck beyond right field.

Batista gave up five hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out four.

Notes

Griffey's first two homers against Seattle in six career games left him two behind Frank Robinson for sixth place. It also gave Griffey 1,654 RBIs. That gave him sole possession of 18th place ahead of ex-Red Tony Perez. ... Edwin Encarnacion, one of three hit batsmen, immediately dropped the bat and stumbled around the plate after Batista hit him in the left elbow with a 2-2 pitch to load the bases in the third. He stayed in the game for three more innings before Juan Castro replaced him.


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