The Reds (24-38) opened the series Friday with a 4-3 win over the Indians (36-23), who have lost four of six games. Griffey hit his 577th career homer while starter Homer Bailey won his major league debut, allowing two runs and five hits over five innings.
Cincinnati, which has the fewest wins in the National League, has won back-to-back games for just the fifth time this season. The Reds are seeking just their fourth three-game winning streak of the season.
Griffey’s sixth-inning homer was his only hit of the game, but it moved him within six of tying Mark McGwire for seventh place on the all-time list for homers. It was his 36th career homer against the Indians - the second most against any team he’s faced.
Griffey has one homer in four at-bats against Cleveland’s Jeremy Sowers (1-6, 6.63 ERA), who will start Saturday.
Sowers is allowing right-handed hitters to bat .305 against him, and only has 14 strikeouts in 58 1-3 innings. The left-hander suffered another rough outing on Sunday against Detroit, allowing five runs and seven hits in four innings of a 9-2 loss.
“Jeremy was a little better (Sunday), but it’s been a combination of things with him,” manager Eric Wedge said. “It’s mostly all about throwing a quality pitch for strike one.”
Sowers is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts against the Reds. One of those was on May 19, when he allowed seven runs and eight hits in six innings of a 10-5 loss.
Sowers was beaten by Cincinnati’s Matt Belisle (5-4, 4.48), who will start Saturday for the Reds. The right-hander pitched 5 2-3 innings in that outing against the Indians, allowing four runs and 10 hits.
That was Belisle’s only career start against the Indians.
Belisle is returning home after two decent road starts. After giving up one run over 7 2-3 innings to beat the Houston Astros 2-1 on May 29, he did not receive a decision on Sunday against the Colorado Rockies after allowing five runs and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 10-9 loss.
The right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.34 ERA in his last five home starts.
Cleveland, which averages 5.6 runs per game, has scored three or fewer runs in four of its last five games. The Indians stranded nine runners and were hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position Friday.
“We definitely had our opportunities, but we didn’t take advantage,” Wedge said. “We need to do a little better job in two-strike situations.”
Indians third baseman Casey Blake went 1-for-5 to extend his career-best hitting streak to 17 games. Blake is hitting .328 (22-for-67) with six homers during his run.