Kouzmanoff awakens, leads Padres past Mariners

Hero: Kevin Kouzmanoff's two-out, two-run double in the fourth inning staked the Padres to an early lead and San Diego never looked back.

Figure this The eight runs were an offensive outburst for the Padres. It was their most runs in nearly a month.

No longer perfect: San Diego's Mike Cameron committed his first error of the season in the fourth when Adrian Beltre's single went between his legs.

-- ESPN.com news services

Padres 8, Mariners 1

SEATTLE (AP) -- A few weeks ago, it seemed every line drive off Kevin Kouzmanoff's bat would find its way into a fielder's glove.

Maybe fortunes are starting to turn at the plate for San Diego's rookie third baseman.

Kouzmanoff's two-out, two-run double staked the Padres to an early lead and Chris Young made it stand up in San Diego's 8-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

"Those earlier in the year seemed to be caught by the right fielder," Padres manager Bud Black said about Kouzmanoff's hit. "The last 10 days he's seeing the ball better, his takes are better and his swing is better."

The eight runs were an offensive outburst for the Padres, who are 11th in the NL in runs scored and have scored three runs or fewer nine times this month. It was their most runs since a 10-5 win over Arizona on April 24.

The Padres found balance throughout their lineup in the series opener against Seattle. Every player got at least one hit, and the Padres had a season-high seven doubles.

Kouzmanoff entered the start of interleague play hitting a lowly .163 -- and that was after raising his average 55 points in his last five games. He went 6-for-11 on San Diego's last homestand, starting to show flashes of the skill that led the Padres to trade Josh Barfield to Cleveland for Kouzmanoff in the offseason.

Kouzmanoff fought the temptation to press or change his swing, relying heavily on the veterans in San Diego's clubhouse and hitting coach Merv Rettenmund.

"It's a grind," Kouzmanoff said. "I've gotten a lot of support here, not just from Merv, but a lot of my teammates. It's a good clubhouse to be in."

San Diego took advantage of an error by third baseman Adrian Beltre on a grounder by Khalil Greene to set up Kouzmanoff's two-out hit in the fourth. Mike Cameron's single off Beltre's glove scored Adrian Gonzalez to tie the game at 1.

After a walk and a strikeout, Kouzmanoff lined an 0-1 pitch from Miguel Batista (3-4) into the right-field corner.

"I feel a lot better, each and every day," Kouzmanoff said.

Young (5-3) took over from there. He scattered six hits and struck out five, leaving with two outs in the seventh after singles by Kenji Johjima and Jose Lopez. Johjima's single broke a streak of nine straight retired by Young.

Heath Bell ended the inning by getting Ichiro Suzuki to ground out to first.

San Diego broke it open with four runs in the eighth off reliever Chris Reitsma. Greene and Cameron opened the inning with consecutive doubles. Josh Bard then singled off Reitsma's glove, and Russell Branyan followed with a three-run homer.

"I got the run support, got the lead early. That makes it a lot easier," Young said.

Batista escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first, and left in the seventh after Jose Cruz Jr. doubled with two outs. Cruz then scored on Brian Giles' double off reliever George Sherrill.

Batista allowed just one earned run and struck out four, but walked four batters and lost his second straight. Seattle lost its third in a row and left 10 runners on base. Richie Sexson struck out three times and left five runners on.

"There is no excuse for the way I'm leaving guys on base," Sexson said. "I played horrible."

Mariners manager Mike Hargrove didn't speak to reporters afterward.

Young's biggest thorn was Suzuki. A night after his AL record streak of 45 consecutive stolen bases ended on a botched hit-and-run, Suzuki stole three bases, using his feet to generate Seattle's only run.

Suzuki walked with two outs in the third, then stole second and third. Jose Vidro followed with a broken-bat looper. Greene mistimed his leap, and the ball bounced off the shortstop's glove, scoring Suzuki.

Game notes
Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... CF Cameron committed his first error of the season in the fourth when Beltre's single went between his legs, allowing Beltre to advance to second. Beltre was stranded at third. ... Padres 2B Marcus Giles was twice thrown out trying to steal second by Johjima. It was the first two times Giles has been caught stealing this season.