Ken Griffey Jr. has been virtually invisible in Cincinnati’s lineup for most of this season. The struggling Reds are hoping that’s starting to change.
After ending the longest home run drought to start a season in his career, Griffey hopes to help the Reds avoid a three-game sweep against the Milwaukee Brewers.
In Saturday’s 6-5 loss, Griffey hit his first homer since last July 8, also in Milwaukee. He connected off reliever Victor Santos in the fourth inning for the 502nd homer of his career, ending a 21-game, 79 at-bat drought.
“It was bound to happen,” Reds manager Dave Miley said. “It is to be hoped that it will add up.”
Griffey, who tore his hamstring off the bone last August, also failed to hit a homer in 48 at-bats during spring training.
The 35-year-old centerfielder is hitting just .244 with nine RBIs, while striking out 22 times in 22 games.
It was not the longest home run drought of Griffey’s career. He went 101 at-bats without one from May 22 to June 20, 1990, with Seattle.
“I think you guys make more out of it than me,” Griffey said. “I haven’t done anything different. I just went down and got one today.”
Damian Miller delivered the game-winning single in the ninth as the Brewers won their third straight, and fifth in eight games since a seven-game losing streak.
“It’s a fun clubhouse right now,” Miller said.
Things haven’t been too much fun for Milwaukee starter Doug Davis, who’s looking to end a three-game slide Sunday.
After going 2-0 in his first two starts with a 2.77 ERA, the lefty is 0-3 with a 9.22 ERA in his last three outings.
One of the reasons for his slide could be the competition. Davis’ two wins came against last-place Pittsburgh, while two of his three losses have come against the NL-leading St. Louis Cardinals.
In Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to the Cardinals, Davis lasted four innings, giving up four runs and four hits. He threw 94 pitches, just 49 for strikes.
“I’m struggling,” said Davis, who went 12-12 with a 3.39 ERA last season. “Bottom line. I think everybody struggles during the year sometime. Better to get it done right now. … I just have to battle through it and keep my head up. Challenge a hitter is what I need to do.”
Davis is 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA, walking 17 in 26 2-3 innings.
“He’s never been a guy who’s going to be a pinpoint guy to begin with,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “His command is just off a little bit right now.”