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Atlanta at Cincinnati

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Atlanta0020041108130
Cincinnati «20014013x11171

Griffey tees off with game-winning shot in eighth

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- With a noteworthy home run, Ken Griffey Jr. turned Father's Day into another personal hallmark moment.

Griffey hit a tiebreaking, three-run shot in the eighth inning Sunday, rallying the Cincinnati Reds to an 11-8 victory over the Atlanta Braves that snapped their six-game losing streak.

Griffey's 513th career homer moved him into sole possession of 16th place on the career list, prevented a four-game sweep by the Braves, and saved the last-place Reds from hitting another low point.

Last year, Griffey hit homer No. 500 on Father's Day in St. Louis with his dad, Ken Sr., in the stands. His father followed the game from home on Sunday.

"He'll know," Griffey said. "Even though he's home, he's still there."

Griffey has five homers on Father's Day, trailing Mike Piazza by one for the most among active players. His 15 RBI are the most by any current player on the day.

"I've hit home runs on Father's Day, Mother's Day, I try to space them out," said Griffey, whose gift was a tie with pictures of his children. "There's something about those days. Today means I can go home and do whatever I want -- which is watch TV, watch the basketball game and (relax)."

The stakes were less personal but more dire this year.

The Reds hadn't even led a game for a week. They pulled ahead three times on Sunday -- by 2, 5 and 1 run -- and blew all three leads. Finally, Griffey gave them one that would stand up.

Adam Bernero (4-2) gave up a pair of one-out singles in the eighth before Griffey homered deep to right, breaking a tie with Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews on the career list. Relieved teammates mobbed him.

"You can go to Sunday dinner and not have to think about a loss, but we've still got a lot of work to do," Griffey said. "Guys are going up there and putting a little too much pressure on themselves to win it all by themselves."

Neither pitching staff had a good time. The Reds matched their season high with 17 hits, and the Braves reached double-digits in hits for the sixth straight game.

"We've been doing it, for the most part," said Braves reliever John Foster, who gave up a pair of homers that put the Reds up 7-2 in the fifth. "We almost had the sweep there. We were close. Everybody has an off-day. Today was just one of those. That's not the last time we're going to get into a game like that."

The Braves were in position to snatch it away in the end.

Andruw Jones doubled and scored on Johnny Estrada's single off David Weathers (4-0) in the eighth inning, tying it at 8. Jones had an RBI single, the double and three walks, leading a resurgent offense.

Atlanta has scored 63 runs in its last eight games, an average of just under eight per game.

"We're happy getting three of four," manager Bobby Cox said of the series. "We scored enough runs today to make you think you should have swept them. When you score that many, you should win."

The Reds appeared to be in control after Adam Dunn hit a three-run homer into Atlanta's bullpen in the fifth and Joe Randa followed with a solo shot into Cincinnati's bullpen for a 7-2 lead. It didn't last long, underscoring the Reds' struggle to do anything right.

Since their chief executive flew to Colorado to deliver a win-or-else ultimatum two weeks ago, the Reds have gone 6-8 without major changes.

The Braves completed a 4-3 trip that was encouraging under the circumstances. Atlanta has three starters -- John Thomson, Mike Hampton and Tim Hudson -- on the disabled list, forcing the Braves to squeeze starts out of relievers and rookies.

Kyle Davies started on only three days of rest and gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings. The 21-year-old rookie was fairly fresh -- he lasted only 2 1/3 innings Wednesday at Texas.

Atlanta relied on homers to win the first three games of the series, hitting 11 of them. The Braves took a different approach on Sunday, making their big comeback by stringing together singles during long innings. Wilson Betemit's solo shot off starter Luke Hudson was Atlanta's only homer.

Notes

  • The Braves have never swept a four-game series in Cincinnati. They did take a five-game series in 1984.
  • Julio Franco, still recovering from a virus, got the day off. The 46-year-old first baseman hit two homers on Saturday night.
  • Reliever Kevin Gryboski fell to his back but managed to catch Griffey's low line drive in the sixth.
  • The Reds have given up 104 homers, most in the majors. They gave up a club-record 236 last year.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Ken Griffey Jr. launches the decisive eighth-inning homer, his fifth career Father's Day dinger.  (AP)
Ken Griffey Jr. launches the decisive eighth-inning homer, his fifth career Father's Day dinger. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

A. Dunn
AB 5
R 3
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Atlanta

K. Johnson
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
 
Atlanta Braves
Rafael Furcal, SS6111002 .221
Kelly Johnson, LF4122200 .204
Marcus Giles, 2B4110224 .283
Adam LaRoche, 1B5022012 .253
Andruw Jones, CF2121300 .265
Johnny Estrada, C5011008 .284
    Pete Orr, PR0000000 .312
    Adam Bernero, P00000001.000
Ryan Langerhans, RF5110011 .243
Wilson Betemit, 3B5221022 .330
Kyle Davies, P2000001 .143
    John Foster, P0000000 .000
   a- Andy Marte, PH0100100 .188
    Kevin Gryboski, P0000000 .000
   b- Brian Jordan, PH1010000 .233
    Dan Kolb, P0000000 .000
    Brian McCann, C1000000 .267
Totals4081388620 
a-walked for Foster in the 6th
b-singled for Gryboski in the 7th
Batting
2B - Rafael Furcal (8, Keisler), Andruw Jones (11, Weathers)
3B - Wilson Betemit (3, Hudson)
HR - Wilson Betemit (4, Hudson)
RBI - Rafael Furcal (24), Kelly Johnson 2 (12), Adam LaRoche 2 (40), Andruw Jones (43), Johnny Estrada (30), Wilson Betemit (8)
2-OUT RBI - Kelly Johnson (1), Adam LaRoche 2 (24), Andruw Jones (19)
Team LOB - 13
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Ryan Langerhans 1
DP - Langerhans-LaRoche
Atlanta Braves
Kyle Davies 4.1955230 4.29
John Foster 0.2222012 3.14
Kevin Gryboski 1100020 1.93
Dan Kolb 1211010 6.58
Adam Bernero (L,4-2) 1333021 5.45
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Davies 89-52, John Foster 17-12, Kevin Gryboski 15-8, Dan Kolb 19-13, Adam Bernero 20-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Davies 2-7, John Foster 1-0, Dan Kolb 1-1, Adam Bernero 1-0
Batters Faced - Kyle Davies 23, John Foster 4, Kevin Gryboski 4, Dan Kolb 5, Adam Bernero 6
Cincinnati Reds
Felipe Lopez, SS5010022 .295
Rich Aurilia, 3B-2B5230003 .248
Sean Casey, 1B5220011 .322
Ken Griffey Jr., CF4223101 .278
Wily Mo Pena, RF5132010 .283
Adam Dunn, LF5323013 .247
Javier Valentin, C3021110 .247
Luis Lopez, 2B2011003 .222
    Joe Randa, PR-3B2111001 .289
Luke Hudson, P2000022 .000
   a- Kenny Kelly, PH1000000 .333
    Randy Keisler, P0000000 .600
    Ricky Stone, P0000000 .000
    Kent Mercker, P0000000 .000
   b- Jacob Cruz, PH1000011 .271
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
Totals401117112917 
a-grounded out for Hudson in the 5th
b-struck out for Mercker in the 7th
Batting
2B - Javier Valentin (4, Kolb), Luis Lopez (3, Davies)
3B - Rich Aurilia (1, Gryboski)
HR - Ken Griffey Jr. (12, Bernero), Adam Dunn (18, Foster), Joe Randa (10, Foster)
RBI - Ken Griffey Jr. 3 (46), Wily Mo Pena 2 (21), Adam Dunn 3 (37), Javier Valentin (9), Luis Lopez (2), Joe Randa (37)
2-OUT RBI - Joe Randa (14)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Casey-F. Lopez
E - Felipe Lopez (4, Misplayed grounder)
Cincinnati Reds
Luke Hudson 5422621 5.63
Randy Keisler 0.2233110 5.49
Ricky Stone (H,2) 0.1211100 4.91
Kent Mercker (BS,2) 1210010 3.00
David Weathers (BS,2; W,4-0) 2311020 4.17
Pitches-Strikes - Luke Hudson 104-60, Randy Keisler 22-13, Ricky Stone 12-6, Kent Mercker 19-13, David Weathers 42-26
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luke Hudson 5-7, Randy Keisler 1-0, Kent Mercker 2-1, David Weathers 3-1
Batters Faced - Luke Hudson 24, Randy Keisler 5, Ricky Stone 4, Kent Mercker 6, David Weathers 9
Game Information
Attendance - 28836
Game Time - 3:23
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Hunter Wendelstedt, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Bruce Froemming