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Griffey hits No. 599 before Bruce wins it for Reds in 10th

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- Jay Bruce insists that his first career homer won't overshadow Ken Griffey Jr.'s 599th.

Oh, really?

Griffey moved within one homer of a seldom-reached mark on Saturday, but the rookie who's just getting started was the center of attention in the cluster of disbelieving Cincinnati Reds at home plate.

Bruce extended his amazing weeklong debut with his first homer Saturday, a solo shot in the 10th inning that gave Cincy an 8-7 victory over the stunned and frustrated Atlanta Braves.

The first time the 21-year-old rookie went deep, it ended a game that started with Griffey's 599th homer.

"You can't steal the show from him," Bruce said.

That's exactly what he did.

Bruce's homer off Manny Acosta (3-2) dealt another crushing road defeat to the Braves, who couldn't hold a one-run lead in the ninth and couldn't stop Bruce an inning later.

"It's come to the point where we've got to start winning these close games," catcher Brian McCann said. "They're killing us."

Griffey was on deck when Bruce connected. He rounded the bases while 38,585 fans chanted "BRUUUUCE!" in unison, flipped his helmet into the air halfway to home, then got pummeled by teammates when he hopped on the plate.

"That's the first walk-off home run in my life, at any level," Bruce said. "It's crazy."

The Reds' top prospect is 11-for-19 in his first five games in the majors, providing one big hit after another. He has a pair of three-hit games and a four-hit game.

"What a remarkable story Jay Bruce is," manager Dusty Baker said. "I've never seen a better story. If he's living a dream, I'd like to be in that dream."

The Braves dropped their heads and trudged away in disbelief. They can't seem to do anything right on the road.

Francisco Cordero (2-0) pitched the 10th, sending the Braves to an excruciatingly familiar finish. Atlanta has lost its last 20 one-run games on the road since August, matching the second-longest such streak in major league history.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kansas City lost 21 straight one-run games on the road from 2000-01. Pittsburgh dropped 20 in a row from 1985-86.

The Braves have one of the NL's best home records at 22-7, offset by the worst road mark at 7-20. The near-miss misery goes much deeper. Atlanta is 0-5 in extra innings this season and 2-16 in one-run games overall.

"That's the way it's been going for us, all these close games," manager Bobby Cox said. "It's cyclical. It will turn around. It always does."

The Braves built a 7-6 lead on homers by Greg Norton, Mark Teixeira and Jeff Francoeur, only to let it slip away on a disputed play in the ninth. Rafael Soriano gave up a walk and a single, then failed to look Ryan Freel all the way back to third base on David Ross' soft comeback grounder.

Soriano threw to first, and Freel dashed for home and slid in headfirst, beating the relay. Cox threw his cap and was ejected while arguing the call at the plate, a sign of Atlanta's mounting frustration.

"Obviously, I thought he was out," McCann said. "He wasn't; I saw the replay. I thought I tagged him on the biceps, but on the replay, it was further down."

Griffey got the Reds rolling with a two-run drive in the first off Jair Jurrjens, leaving him one away from becoming the sixth player to reach 600 career homers. He also had a sacrifice fly and a double.

With his next homer, Griffey will join Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa at 600. He'll have one more chance in his hometown -- the series concludes on Sunday -- before an eight-game road trip.

"Even his outs are hard," Baker said of Griffey, who wasn't available after the game. "It won't be long."

Chipper Jones, who went 0-for-5 and had a game-ending error in Cincinnati's 3-2, 11-inning win on Friday night, had a pair of singles and matched an Atlanta record. Jones' 81 hits through the end of May equaled Ralph Garr's mark from 1974.

Notes

  • Jurrjens was the 383rd pitcher to give up a homer by Griffey.
  • Jones batted .417 in May with four homers.
  • Soriano's first pitch in the ninth sailed untouched to the backstop screen. He wound up with his first blown save in two chances.
  • Reds starter Josh Fogg gave up six runs in 3 1/3 innings, likely costing him a spot in the rotation again.
 
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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Is Ken Griffey Jr. upset about missing a chance at 600? No way, he's celebrating with Jay Bruce (32). (AP)
Is Ken Griffey Jr. upset about missing a chance at 600? No way, he's celebrating with Jay Bruce (32). (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

M. Teixeira
AB 6
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Cincinnati

K. Griffey
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Atlanta Braves
Yunel Escobar, SS5000114 .300
Kelly Johnson, 2B6121033 .300
Chipper Jones, 3B3120300 .413
Mark Teixeira, 1B6123015 .271
Brian McCann, C4000115 .319
Jeff Francoeur, RF5221001 .255
Greg Norton, LF3112101 .265
    Jeff Bennett, P0000000 .167
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
    Blaine Boyer, P0000000 .000
   a- Ruben Gotay, PH1000010 .242
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
    Manny Acosta, P0000000 .000
Gregor Blanco, CF4000111 .274
Jair Jurrjens, P2110000 .130
    Royce Ring, P0000000 .000
   b- Josh Anderson, PH-LF2010001 .333
Totals41711778  
a-struck out for Boyer in the 9th
b-grounded out for Ring in the 7th
Batting
2B - Kelly Johnson (13, Fogg)
3B - Jair Jurrjens (1, Fogg)
HR - Mark Teixeira (7, Fogg), Jeff Francoeur (6, Weathers), Greg Norton (1, Fogg)
SH - Jair Jurrjens (3)
RBI - Kelly Johnson (26), Mark Teixeira 3 (39), Jeff Francoeur (33), Greg Norton 2 (9)
SB - Josh Anderson (1, 2nd base off Cordero/Ross)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
DP - Johnson-Escobar-Teixeira
Atlanta Braves
Jair Jurrjens 4.1966622 3.45
Royce Ring 1.2100010 5.59
Jeff Bennett (H,4) 1.1000010 3.45
Will Ohman (H,8) 0.1000110 2.82
Blaine Boyer (H,8) 0.1000000 3.69
Rafael Soriano (BS,1) 1111120 3.00
Manny Acosta (L,3-2) 0.1111011 2.83
IBB - Dunn by Jair Jurrjens, by Votto
Pitches-Strikes - Jair Jurrjens 99-55, Royce Ring 18-13, Jeff Bennett 14-10, Will Ohman 9-4, Blaine Boyer 5-4, Rafael Soriano 22-12, Manny Acosta 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jair Jurrjens 5-6, Royce Ring 2-1, Jeff Bennett 2-1, Blaine Boyer 1-0, Rafael Soriano 1-0
Batters Faced - Jair Jurrjens 28, Royce Ring 5, Jeff Bennett 4, Will Ohman 2, Blaine Boyer 1, Rafael Soriano 5, Manny Acosta 2
Cincinnati Reds
Jerry Hairston Jr., SS-LF6121010 .344
Jay Bruce, CF5331101 .579
Ken Griffey Jr., RF4123011 .249
Brandon Phillips, 2B5111003 .287
Adam Dunn, LF2000311 .253
    Ryan Freel, PR0100000 .309
    Francisco Cordero, P0000000 .000
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B5121023 .232
Joey Votto, 1B3010221 .293
David Ross, C4011103 .265
Josh Fogg, P2000003 .111
    Jeremy Affeldt, P0000000 .000
   a- Andy Phillips, PH0000100 .000
    Bill Bray, P0000000 .000
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
   b- Javier Valentin, PH1000000 .238
    Mike Lincoln, P0000000 .000
   c- Paul Janish, PH-SS1000011 .280
Totals38812888  
a-walked for Affeldt in the 5th
b-flied out for Weathers in the 7th
c-struck out for Lincoln in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ken Griffey Jr. (10, Ring), David Ross (2, Jurrjens)
HR - Jay Bruce (1, Acosta), Ken Griffey Jr. (6, Jurrjens), Brandon Phillips (11, Jurrjens)
SF - Ken Griffey Jr. (3)
RBI - Jerry Hairston Jr. (10), Jay Bruce (4), Ken Griffey Jr. 3 (27), Brandon Phillips (31), Edwin Encarnacion (23), David Ross (6)
2-OUT RBI - Edwin Encarnacion (5)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
E - Adam Dunn (3, Dropped fly)
Cincinnati Reds
Josh Fogg 3.1766202 9.85
Jeremy Affeldt 1.2200220 4.15
Bill Bray 1000110 3.00
David Weathers 1111111 4.91
Mike Lincoln 2000020 5.61
Francisco Cordero (W,2-0) 1100120 2.10
IBB - Jones by Francisco Cordero
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Fogg 65-35, Jeremy Affeldt 43-25, Bill Bray 20-10, David Weathers 25-16, Mike Lincoln 25-16, Francisco Cordero 18-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Fogg 5-5, Jeremy Affeldt 3-0, Bill Bray 1-1, David Weathers 1-2, Mike Lincoln 3-1
Batters Faced - Josh Fogg 19, Jeremy Affeldt 9, Bill Bray 4, David Weathers 6, Mike Lincoln 6, Francisco Cordero 5
Game Information
Attendance - 38585
Game Time - 3:43
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Adrian Johnson, First Base - Tim Tschida, Second Base - Jim Joyce, Third Base - Jeff Nelson