SEATTLE -- The home run Ken Griffey Jr. hit in the sixth inning Tuesday night had more of an impact on franchise history than it did in the Mariners' Interleague series opener against the Padres.
His 619th career circuit clout was the 5,000th in club history but chopped just one run off an eight-run deficit, and though the Mariners rallied in the eighth and ninth innings, they fell short by two runs, dropping a 9-7 decision.
Before dressing quickly and bolting from the home clubhouse at Safeco Field to join his family and a late showing of Transformers II, Griffey said his 406th home run in a Mariners uniform was a special one.
"It means a lot to the organization," Griffey said. "I was able to retrieve the ball and give it to the proper owners, the Seattle Mariners."
The baseball will go on display inside the team's Hall of Fame.
It took some paraphernalia from Griffey to get the ball that he hit off Padres right-hander Chad Gaudin into the seats in right-center field. But he said the fan that got the ball "was a good guy and I gave him some things for his generosity."
He wasn't any more specific.
The home run also was his 2,721st career hit, tying him with Lou Gehrig for 52nd place on the all-time list.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.