Griffey hit a tiebreaking solo homer and threw out a runner at the plate in the eighth inning to lead the Reds to their third win in four games, 4-3 over the road-weary Rockies on Friday.
After struggling with injuries over the last several seasons, Griffey has been putting together a solid season for the Reds. He has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games, batting .369 (17-for-46) with four homers and 10 RBIs in that span. Overall, Griffey is batting .288 with 18 homers and a team-leading 59 RBIs this season.
“He’s making a statement this year,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s got some gas left in that tank, no doubt about it.”
The 35-year-old outfielder, who hit his 519th career homer Friday, won 10 Gold Gloves and was one of baseball’s most feared sluggers in his first 10 years in Seattle before he returned to his hometown of Cincinnati in a 2000 trade. However, injuries have hampered him since, most recently a torn right hamstring last August.
His goal for this season was to stay in the lineup. He passed a milestone in that regard on Friday, playing in his 84th game—one more than all of last year and his most since 2001.
“People have to understand, I’ve just been hurt,” said Griffey, who remains 16th on the career homer list, just two behind Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Willie McCovey. “I haven’t forgotten how to play baseball.”
Adam Dunn added a two-run shot in the eighth for Cincinnati, which opened a 10-game homestand.
Jorge Piedra went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for Colorado, which is a major league-worst 7-34 on the road.