White Sox 8, Mariners 2
SEATTLE (AP) _ Ken Griffey Jr. gave Hank Aaron and Seattle fans a reason to remember the final opener at the Kingdome.
Griffey hit his seventh home run on opening day, but it wasn’t enough for the Mariners in an 8-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
Frank Thomas doubled twice, singled and drove in two runs for the White Sox. Darrin Jackson and Paul Konerko added two-run homers as Chicago opened on the road for the ninth straight year.
Griffey, the player most likely to challenge Aaron’s career record of 755 home runs, hit his 351st to start his 11th major league season.
The 29-year-old Seattle star raised his arm in salute to Aaron, who threw out the first ball. The Mariners will move into their new outdoor stadium, $498 million Safeco Field, on July 15.
Griffey gave Seattle a 2-1 lead when he homered off James Baldwin (1-0) in the third inning. Frank Robinson holds baseball’s record with eight opening-day homers _ Griffey is tied for second with Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Eddie Mathews and Carl Yastrzemski.
The White Sox tied it in the fourth on singles by Mike Caruso and Thomas and Konerko’s double-play grounder.
Chicago went ahead in the fifth when Jackson homered after Greg Norton drew a walk from Jeff Fassero (0-1).
Thomas doubled to lead off the sixth and Konerko homered for a 6-2 lead. Thomas hit a two-run double in the seventh.
Chicago scored in the first on Ray Durham’s triple and Mike Caruso’s groundout. Carlos Guillen led off Seattle’s third with a homer.
Baldwin pitched six innings and gave up two runs on eight hits and a walk. Fassero went six innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk.
Notes: The Mariners will play their first 39 games in the Kingdome before playing the final 42 at Safeco Field, which is being built across the street from the Kingdome in downtown Seattle. ... Thomas came into the game 1-for-18 against Fassero. He was 2-for-3 against him Monday night. ... The White Sox won their third straight season opener. ... Seattle’s last opener in the Kingdome drew 51,656 fans.