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Archive for Monday, June 7, 2004

Griffey Jr. nears No. 500

Slugger belts career homers 497, 498 in win

June 7, 2004

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— Melissa Griffey remained in Florida for Cincinnati's weekend series against Montreal, and she reminded her husband before Sunday's finale to not hit the four home runs he needed to reach 500 for his career.

Ken Griffey Jr. kept his word, hitting just two.

He hit his 497th and 498th homers on consecutive pitches, and the Reds rallied for three runs in the ninth inning to beat the Expos, 6-5.

"I told my wife to stay home his weekend, because it was only a three-game series," Griffey said. "She said, 'Don't hit four today.' She would have been mad. When I got the walk, I said, 'Whew.'"

Pinch-hitter Jacob Cruz hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth that tied the score against Rocky Biddle (0-4), and the Reds won the game on singles by pinch-hitter Barry Larkin, Ryan Freel and D'Angelo Jimenez, who went 3-for-5. Cruz's homer was his first since May 29, 2002, and it was his first as a pinch-hitter.

After Montreal took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, Jimenez singled and Griffey hit a 3-2 pitch from Livan Hernandez to the opposite field for his 16th homer of the season. He pulled the next pitch he saw from Hernandez 409 feet to right field to tie the game in the third.

"He's having fun," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "He feels good. It's fun to watch and see them change that number (in center field) and see who he's catching and who he's passing. The home runs are good for the team, too."

Griffey, who had his 50th multihomer game, tied teammate Adam Dunn and the Cardinals' Albert Pujols for the major-league lead with 17. He has 100 since joining the Reds before the 2000 season.

"You want to see a friend be successful, especially when they've gone through as much garbage as he has," Larkin said. "People have been very critical of him. Now, the same people are jumping on the bandwagon. I get more enjoyment out of seeing that as anything."

Cubs 4, Pirates 1

Chicago -- Greg Maddux (5-4) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings as Chicago won its second straight after losing eight of 10.

Aramis Ramirez hit a solo home run for the Cubs, and LaTroy Hawkins pitched the ninth for his fourth save.

Ryan Vogelsong (1-6) gave up two runs and four hits in six-plus innings. The Pirates have lost seven of eight.

Astros 3, Cardinals 2

St. Louis -- Roy Oswalt (4-4) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, and Raul Chavez hit an RBI double off Jeff Suppan (5-5) that broke a sixth-inning tie. Octavio Dotel worked the ninth for his ninth save, sending St. Louis to just its second loss in 11 games.

Braves 6, Phillies 4

Atlanta -- Staked to a 4-0 lead, Kevin Millwood (4-4) allowed a go-ahead, three-run homer to J.D. Drew in a six-run fifth inning. Millwood, who allowed six runs, eight hits and three walks in 42/3 innings, dropped to 0-6 with a 9.10 ERA in six starts against Atlanta, which traded him to Philadelphia in December 2002. Jaret Wright (4-5) won his second straight decision, allowing four runs and six hits in five innings. John Smoltz got four outs for his eighth save, sending the Phillies to their sixth loss in nine games.

Giants 16, Rockies 4

Denver -- Barry Bonds hit career homer No. 674, his 16th this season. Dustin Hermanson (2-2) won for the first time in seven starts, allowing two runs and six hits in seven inning and singling twice. Michael Tucker and Damon Minor each had three RBIs for the Giants, who set a season high for runs and matched their best with 16 hits. Aaron Cook (1-1) gave up eight runs, eight hits and five walks in 41/3 innings.

Mets 5, Marlins 2

New York -- Mike Piazza hit his third homer in two days and drove in four runs. Al Leiter (2-2) pitched two-hit ball for 52/3 scoreless innings and worked around six walks to help New York gain a split of the four-game series. The Mets finished 6-6 during a key stretch of games against division rivals Philadelphia and Florida. Brad Penny (6-3) fell behind 3-0 in the first and gave up five runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in five innings.

Diamondbacks 6, Dodgers 5

Phoenix -- Danny Bautista hit a go-ahead single off Darren Dreifort (1-1) as Arizona scored three times to overcome a 4-2 deficit in the seventh inning. Adrian Beltre increased his home-run total to 14 with a pair of solo drives for the Dodgers, who lost for only the second time in eight games. Scott Service (1-0) got the final out of the seventh, and Jose Valverde pitched 11/3 innings for his fourth save, escaping a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the eighth by striking out pinch-hitter Paul Lo Duca.

Padres 8, Brewers 3

San Diego -- Adam Eaton (2-6) stopped his six-game losing streak, retiring 15 of 16 batters after allowing two runs in the first. Scott Linebrink, Akinori Otsuka and Trevor Hoffman finished the five-hitter. Doug Davis (4-5) allowed five runs and eight hits in four innings.

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