There are long fly balls that barely get out of major league ballparks, and then there are the no-doubt, sweet-spot home runs.
Slugger Adam Lind hit one of those types Friday night. It couldn’t have come at a better time.
In a matchup of old National League Central foes, Lind got the best of St. Louis closer Trevor Rosenthal, smashing a walkoff, three-run homer to lift the Mariners to a 4-3 victory in front of 35,746 at Safeco Field.
Lind put the meaty part of the bat on Rosenthal’s low 88 mph changeup, and sent it 417 feet into the air, and out to right-center field.
The Mariners needed it — they snapped their six-game losing streak.
“A much-needed win,” Lind said. “I sent the people home happy on a Friday night.”
And by the loud music and celebratory tunes coming out of the Mariners clubhouse after the game, his teammates went home delighted, too.
“We’ve had that (a walk-off hit) happen to us a few times … so it is nice to flip it,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Hopefully we can build on that.”
Seattle had just surrendered a 1-0 lead in the eighth when set-up reliever Joaquin Benoit gave up three runs — the last two scoring on Matt Holliday’s ground ball that went under Kyle Seager’s glove at third base.
But Seager led off the ninth with a double off the left field wall. And Dae-Ho Lee followed by taking a walk, setting the table for Lind.
Last season, when Lind played in Milwaukee, he faced Rosenthal a few times.
“Not that they needed him against us too many times,” Lind said.
“I know Trevor has been in that situation many times … but I wanted to see a pitch, and see if he was going to be in the (strike) zone.”
Lind got full extension on Rosenthal’s 1-1 pitch, and hammered it deep into the night.
“It’s just what happens sometimes,” Rosenthal said. “Obviously, it’s not fun to give that up in that situation when we battled hard.”
Lind’s big hit saved what was a sparkling pitching debut for the Mariners by left-hander Wade LeBlanc.
Acquired by Seattle in a trade Wednesday with Toronto, LeBlanc certainly gave the Mariners more than they could have hoped for — some 634 days after his last appearance in the major leagues.
“This is where everybody wants to be,” LeBlanc said. “Any time I get a chance to do it, it’s 100 percent a blessing.”
With his seventh organization, the 31-year-old journeyman breezed through the Cardinals lineup for six scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out three in his 87-pitch effort.
Both managers — Mike Matheny of the Cardinals, and Servais — had the same comparison for LeBlanc: Jamie Moyer.
“(Hitting coach) Edgar (Martinez) said to me, ‘I think I’ve seen this before,’ ” Servais said. “He is a fly ball pitcher, but he goes back and forth with the changeup, and pitches in and out, He is very effective.”
The only time LeBlanc was in real trouble was in the fifth inning.
Brandon Moss hit a one-out, bloop double down the left field line. But LeBlanc retired Yadier Molina and Jedd Gyorko on groundouts.
It’s been a long road back to the major leagues for LeBlanc.
His last start was at the end of the 2014 season with the Los Angeles Angels — where Servais knew him.
He spent last season in Japan with the Seibu Lions, going 2-5 with a 4.23 earned-run average.
The Louisiana native signed with Toronto as a free agent in December, and was leading the International League in ERA (1.71) with Triple-A Buffalo before this week’s trade.
His best season in the majors was 2010, when he went 8-12 with a 4.25 ERA for the San Diego Padres.
LeBlanc arrived at Safeco Field just after 2:30 p.m. Friday, and wasted no time in meeting teammates and staff members before going out and pitching a gem.
“We certainly needed to break up that losing streak,” Servais said.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Lind hit a three-run homer off Rosenthal with no outs in the ninth inning to give the Mariners a come-from-behind victory.
PLUS: LeBlanc gave the M’s exactly what they needed — six zero-filled innings — in his pitching debut with the club.
MINUS: Benoit walked the first batter he faced in the eighth (Yadier Molina), hit the next one (Greg Garcia), and eventually allowed the tying run on a bases-loaded walk to Aledmys Diaz.
STAT PACK: So much for the career numbers — LeBlanc had a 5.40 ERA against St. Louis, and a 14.73 ERA at Safeco Field before Friday night. … It was the second time this month that Benoit allowed three runs in an appearance. He did it June 9 at home against Cleveland.
SHORT HOPS: St. Louis’ only other trip to Safeco Field was in 2002. Since then, every other major league team has visited the Mariners at home. … Donn Roach made his major league debut, taking over for Benoit in the eighth inning. He got the final five outs for Seattle. … Rehabbing M’s starter Wade Miley (shoulder) struck out seven of the 10 batters he faced in four scoreless innings with Single-A Everett on Friday. … Former Seattle Seahawks safety Jordan Babineaux threw out the first pitch Friday while wearing a wine-colored crown.