SEATTLE -- Jesus Montero will do anything and play anywhere to show his appreciation to the Seattle Mariners for his second chance.
That includes leaning down to golf a game-turning home run Tuesday, his first major league homer in 13 months, since before his career hit rock bottom with a drug suspension. The blast came on the day when he played first base for the first time in his 185 major league games.
"I really appreciate the opportunity the Mariners are giving me. It was very hard for me, what I was going through last year. I mean, a very tough year," the 24-year-old former top prospect as a catcher said after his go-ahead home run, a two-run shot by Robinson Cano plus a strong start from Roenis Elias keyed Seattle's 6-1 victory over the anemic San Diego Padres at Safeco Field.
"Little by little I was in Triple-A working hard to be here, and they gave me an opportunity again. I feel very happy they we paying attention to me. Whatever they need me (to do). If I have to catch -- or pitch -- I will do it."
Montero smiled at the outlandish thought of pitching.
He gave the Mariners' starting pitcher, Elias, a 2-1 lead in the second inning with his first home run in the majors since May 8, 2013. That was less than three months before Montero accepted without appeal his 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy. The ban was in connection with the Biogenesis investigation in Florida that also ensnared Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun.
Elias, a 25-year-old Cuban rookie who defected in 2010 through Mexico, plowed through an ice-cold Padres lineup. The left-hander used a precise fastball complemented by effective curves and changeups to limit San Diego to three hits and one run over seven dominant innings.
Elias (6-5) also struck out six without issuing a walk. It was the seventh time in 15 career starts that Elias allowed two runs or fewer.
The Mariners (37-34) earned their third win in four games.
Meanwhile, the Padres (29-42) lost for the eighth time in nine games while managing all of four hits. Catcher Rene Rivera's fifth home run, in the second inning, kept the Padres from being shut out for the fourth time this month. In Monday's 5-1 loss, only left fielder Carlos Quentin's ninth-inning homer kept San Diego from getting blanked.
The Padres were held to two runs or fewer for the 10th time in 15 June games. They have recorded five or fewer hits 27 times in 71 games this season.
Two runs were plenty for Seattle again Tuesday. The Mariners got those in the second, and the Padres gifted one of them.
With one out, Cole Gillespie reached when San Diego first baseman Tommy Medica dropped an accurate throw from third baseman Chase Headley. Montero then golfed Eric Stults' 2-1 changeup on a line just over the fence beyond left field. Seattle led 2-1.
Montero went 1-for-3 while getting hit by a pitch. He is 3-for-10 since his recall from Triple-A Tacoma last week.
"Today was a fun day," Montero said, with another smile.
The Mariners upped the lead to 4-1 in the fifth after another Padres misplay led to a run.
Stults had James Jones picked off first base, but Seattle's speedy leadoff batter beat Medica's delayed throw to second base. Instead of the first out of the inning, Jones -- who recorded the second three-hit game of his rookie season -- scored one out later on Cano's fourth home run of his Mariners debut season, his second in seven games. Seattle's $240 million slugger sent a 3-1 slider from Stults three rows into the bleachers beyond right field.
"It was unfortunate break; we had Jones picked off but we didn't have the great exchange back to second," Padres manager Bud Black said.
The blast was Cano's second Safeco Field home run as a Mariner.
"Wow, I'm happy," a grinning Cano said, sounding more relieved than overjoyed at two homers in a week after a powerless start to his Seattle tenure. "I don't know when was the last time."
Stults (2-9) allowed his 14th and 15th home runs in his 15th start of the season. He surrendered six hits and four runs (three earned) over five innings. He is winless in seven consecutive starts since beating the Miami Marlins on May 10.
A two-run, bloop double by Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager off reliever Tim Stauffer with the bases loaded in the seventh ended the scoring -- and San Diego's 6,891-mile road trip to visit Philadelphia, the New York Mets and Seattle.
The Padres went 1-7 on their long trek.
"I mean, tough. It's tough," Rivera said. "We battled. I don't see a guy here who is hanging his head down. It seems like we come up short every time. But the attitude out there is good. We come to battle every time."
NOTES: Padres 2B Jedd Gyorko won't come off the disabled list Friday, when he becomes eligible. That will keep an ailing offense without one of its powerful bats. Manager Bud Black said before Tuesday's game that Gyorko, who hit 23 home runs as a rookie last season, is still in a walking boot due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot. "He's not even close to coming off (the DL)," Black said. ... Mariners RHP Hisashi Iwakuma threw on flat ground in right field about 80 minutes before Tuesday's game instead of doing his scheduled bullpen session. That was a precaution to rest the stiff neck that caused him to take off June 16, the day after he limited the Texas Rangers to one run on six hits over eight innings. McClendon said before Iwakuma (5-3, 2.59 ERA) threw Tuesday morning. The 2013 All-Star is scheduled to pitch Friday in the series opener at Kansas City.