People sometimes ask me why I like baseball so much, and when they do I tell them that it's the best sport ever invented. On any given day, anything can happen. That doesn't happen in other sports.
Sunday afternoon, it happened.
When Seattle took a four-run lead to the ninth with one of the best bullpens in baseball, it appeared to be a one-in-a-million type of chance that the National League-worst San Diego Padres could come from behind.
After all, the Padres had seemingly used up all their magic last week when they came back from three down in the final inning to win. They had already used up their one-in-a-million chance, hadn't they?
Well, apparently it was two-in-a-million, because on this lovely afternoon at Safeco Field in Seattle it happened yet again.
Rondell White smacked a grandslam to tie the game in the ninth inning off of Arthur Rhodes, and Keith Lockheart drove home to go-ahead runs with a single to send the Padres to a shocking 8-6 win.
Rod Beck retired the first two Mariners in the bottom of the ninth and Jay Witasick recorded the final out to secure the win for San Diego (28-55).
Beck, who also pitched a scoreless eighth inning, got the winning decision and moved to 1-1 on the year.
Rhodes, who entered the game with a 1.77 ERA, failed to record an out to the five batters he faced. He took the loss, his first of the season, giving up five earned runs. His ERA rose to 3.03 in the process.
The late-inning heroics by White, who hit a three-run homer on Saturday and a game-winning grand slam against Seattle last week, spoiled another tremendous outing by Mariners' starter Freddy Garcia.
Garcia gave up just five hits and one run in six innings before leaving with a 5-1 lead heading into the seventh.
Seattle (52-28) tagged Padres' starter Kevin Jarvis for five runs in six innings to break ahead, looking to have complete control of the game.
It was actually San Diego which scored first on a third inning Donaldo Mendez solo homer. But the Mariners answered in the fourth with a four-spot, getting a three-run homer from Mike Cameron and a RBI single from John Olerud.
Edgar Martinez singled home Ichiro in the fifth to tack on another run, and Olerud smacked his fourth homer of the year in the eighth to make it a 6-2 contest.
But that's when the Padres stepped to the dish in the final inning and proved that in baseball, anything can happen on any given day.
Every Mariner starter had a hit with the exception of Bret Boone, who went 0-5. Ichiro and Olerud had two hits apiece.
Mark Loretta led the Padres with a 4-5 day. Sean Burroughs had three hits, continuing to hit Seattle pitching.