Southern All-Stars 9, Mariners 3
Jul. 22, 1997
ZEBULON, N.C. (AP) _ Jacksonville right fielder Juan Encarnacion hit three home runs and drove in six runs to lead the Double-A Southern League All-Stars to a 9-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners in an exhibition game Monday night.
Beginning a five-city, 12-game road trip, Seattle manager Lou Piniella pulled his starters after just one inning. That allowed the eager Southern Leaguers to pound six pitchers for 15 hits and overcome an early 3-1 deficit.
Rafael Carmona, brought up from Seattle's Triple-A Tacoma team, took the loss for the Mariners.
Ken Cloude of Memphis got the win for the All-Stars, striking out six and allowing no runs and two hits in three innings.
Encarnacion, who plays in the Detroit Tigers farm system, followed his first-inning solo homer with a two-run shot in the third to tie the game 3-3. His second two-run homer came in the seventh and keyed a three-run rally that gave the All-Stars a 7-3 lead. He added an RBI-single in the eighth.
Luis Raven of the Birmingham Barons put the All-Stars ahead to stay with an RBI-triple in the sixth. Raven drove in Knoxville third baseman Kevin Witt and then scored on a single by Orlando's Raymond Nunez.
Seattle center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. stayed in the game long enough to hit an RBI single to right. Griffey left the game after his first-inning hit, stopping along the first-base side to sign autographs.
The Mariners made the trip to Zebulon as a favor to Carolina Mudcats owner Steve Bryant, who operated a Seattle minor league franchise in the early 1990s.
The Mariners lead the AL West by one-half game over Anaheim and some of them weren't happy about the trip to rural North Carolina.
``A lot of the guys were complaining before we got here,'' Seattle shortstop Alex Rodriguez said. ``But my attitude is that, if you're a big leaguer, you should play a big league game, no matter where you are.''
The game started the Mariners' longest road trip of the season. They open a three-game series Tuesday in Cleveland, followed by three games in New York, two in Boston and four in Milwaukee.
``We could have used a rest,'' Piniella said. ``The problem with being in the northwest, like Seattle, is that you're always either on the road, in an airplane or playing games.''