- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

SEATTLE (AP) - Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 613th career home run and 400th as a Mariner on Wednesday night in his second home game of his return season in Seattle.

The 39-year-old active home run leader, returning triumphantly to the team that spawned his superstardom as a teen in 1989, turned sharply on a 2-1 fastball from Los Angeles Angels starter Jered Weaver in the fifth inning for his second home run of the year.

Griffey gave his vintage, no-doubt reaction to the solo shot: a dropped bat at his feet and long stare. He watched the ball land three rows into the bleachers beyond right-center field to give Seattle a 3-2 lead, three pitches after Endy Chavez had tied the game with a solo home run.

Giddy fans scrambled for the souvenir ball from Griffey’s home run.

The crowd of about 18,516 at Safeco Field _ the house that Junior built _ roared as he rounded the bases. The fans kept roaring, prompting Griffey’s first curtain call since returning. He emerged from the dugout to tip his batting helmet to the fans, many of whom were wearing his No. 24 jersey in either blue or white.

He then kissed his teenage son Trey in the dugout as his teammates mobbed him.

Griffey’s previous home run as a Mariner in Seattle came on Sept. 22, 1999, off Kansas City’s Jay Witasick in what was his 48th and final home run of that season.

A few months later, the Mariners granted his wish and traded him to Cincinnati.

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