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Originally published June 23, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 2, 2007 at 9:09 PM

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Griffey's return brings warm memories — then cold reality

The House That Griffey Built was, for one night anyway, the Mariners' house of horrors. For Ken Griffey Jr.'s Cincinnati Reds, it was a...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Today

Cincinnati at Seattle, 7:05 p.m., Ch. 11/KOMO (1000 AM )

Pitchers: M's Jarrod Washburn (5-6, 4.38) vs. Kyle Lohse (3-9, 4.56)

Inside: Mariners fans give Griffey hearty welcome

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The House That Griffey Built was, for one night anyway, the Mariners' house of horrors.

For Ken Griffey Jr.'s Cincinnati Reds, it was a playhouse.

Griffey, returning to Safeco Field for the first time since 1999 when he was a Mariner, was the star of the show on Friday night. His teammates made up a strong supporting cast in the Reds' 16-1 romp over the Mariners before a season-high crowd of 46,340.

The outcome was apparent early. The stragglers in the crowd hung around to see how many home runs the Reds would end up with on a wild night of serious mashing, and whether their hero Griffey would go deep. There was little other reason to watch, ugly as this one was for the Mariners.

Sixteen runs and 16 hits allowed. Two errors. Six walks and a wild pitch. The largest margin of defeat in Safeco Field history.

Starter Ryan Feierabend struggled through a 41-pitch first inning. Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt's throwing error in the second — his major-league-leading 18th of the season — allowed a run to score. And plate umpire Mike Winters ejected manager Mike Hargrove in the top of the second inning, sending the skipper into the video room to finish watching the drubbing.

"I felt like we were getting the short end of the stick," Hargrove said. "I don't care how bad a night an umpire's going to have at the plate, he's not going to affect a game 16 runs. ... This is one of those nights. Hopefully it's better [tonight]. I'm not sure I can take two of them in a row."

Today

Cincinnati at Seattle, 7:05 p.m., Ch. 11/KOMO (1000 AM )

Pitchers: M's Jarrod Washburn (5-6, 4.38) vs. Kyle Lohse (3-9, 4.56)

Inside: Mariners fans give Griffey hearty welcome

How bad of a night was it for Feierabend? He hit a batter, walked five, allowed nine runs on six hits, served up two home runs in the third inning and lasted only 2-2/3 innings.

What's more, Feierabend (1-2) was booed three times by the home fans. The hecklers gave it to him twice for throwing over to first base to keep the runner close in the first inning with Griffey at bat and again when the Reds' Brandon Phillips hit one over the wall in right field.

"You just sort of shake it off and laugh at it and go get ready for your next start," Feierabend, 21, said. "There's not a whole lot you can do."

The Reds entered the game with the worst record in the majors at 28-45. But they were the Big Red Machine on Friday.

Alex Gonzalez laced a bases-loaded double out of Raul Ibanez's reach in left field to drive in three runs and give the Reds a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Cincinnati added two more runs in the second, turning a leadoff walk and a bunt single into runs with a single and a fielder's choice off Griffey's bat.

Then the Reds put on a power display. For all of their shortcomings in 2007, they are still the major-league leader in home runs with 105. Number 101 was a two-run shot from David Ross in the third; one out later, Phillips went deep.

Jason Davis relieved Feierabend and gave up a solo homer to Josh Hamilton in the top of the fifth. Cincinnati tacked on six more runs off Davis in the sixth inning, highlighted by a three-run blast from Ross and another solo shot from Phillips.

Davis couldn't get out of the sixth and allowed seven runs on eight hits in three innings.

As Mariner Willie Bloomquist put it, "When you get down that big that early, it's kind of tough to stay focused."

Ryan Rowland-Smith, recalled earlier in the day from Class AAA Tacoma, made his major-league debut in the sixth. The first batter he faced was Griffey, who struck out swinging as flashbulbs popped around the stadium.

The 24-year-old Aussie became the first player with a hyphenated last name to appear in a major-league game.

Starter Aaron Harang (8-2), who had never beaten Seattle in four starts, was in command Friday, allowing one run and two hits in eight innings.

Griffey ended up striking out three times in the game, but for him the night was memorable.

"It was a lot more than I expected," he said. "Awesome, if you had to put it in one word."

So were the Reds.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

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