With one of the worst records in the majors, there may not be much to look forward to in the second half for the Cincinnati Reds. Ken Griffey Jr.’s pursuit of 600 home runs, though, should be a highlight.
Griffey and the Reds look to win consecutive road games for the first time in six weeks on Tuesday night when they continue a three-game road series against the Atlanta Braves.
Griffey hit a three-run homer in the second inning, and rookie starter Bobby Livingston went 4-for-4 as the Reds coasted to a 10-3 victory on Monday.
With his 587th career homer, Griffey moved past Frank Robinson into sole possession of sixth place on the career list. Griffey’s 24th home run put him one behind teammate Adam Dunn for second in the NL.
“The most important thing is we got the win,” Griffey said. “That’s something we haven’t done a lot in the second half.”
Now in his eighth year with Cincinnati (38-55), Griffey began the season tied with Reggie Jackson for 10th place with 563 homers.
“I have nothing but accolades for him,” interim Reds manager Pete Mackanin said. “His home run was pretty special.”
Next on the all-time list for Griffey is Texas’ Sammy Sosa, who has 602 home runs. Sosa and Barry Bonds, who is four behind all-time leader Hank Aaron, are the only other active players in the top 20.
Livingston, called up from Triple-A Louisville before the game, became the first Reds pitcher to go 4-for-4 since John Smiley in a 12-3 win at Montreal on June 7, 1993.
The Reds, who won for the sixth time in nine games overall, improved to 18-29 on the road. They haven’t won two straight away from home since May 29-30 at Houston.
Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips went 0-for-5, snapping his 11-game hitting streak. He is batting .340 (18-for-53) with five home runs and 15 RBIs in his last 12 games.
Bronson Arroyo (3-10, 4.78 ERA) hopes to end a personal six-game road losing streak as he takes the mound for Cincinnati. The right-hander has lost six consecutive starts away from home, last winning at Houston on May 1.
Arroyo has pitched well lately despite his unimpressive record, going 1-2 with a 3.26 ERA in his past four starts. He gave up three runs and eight hits in seven innings Thursday in a 3-2 loss to the New York Mets.
Arroyo is 2-1 with a 5.23 ERA in six career starts against the Braves.
Atanta’s Edgar Renteria is batting .545 (6-for-11) against Arroyo.
Monday’s loss snapped a four-game win streak for the Braves (50-43), who had won seven of eight. They are 12-5 since dropping to .500 on June 24.
“That was a pretty awful exhibition of baseball all the way around,” Atlanta’s Chipper Jones said.
Jo-Jo Reyes (0-1, 15.00) hopes to fare better in his second major league start than he did in his first. The 22-year-old left-hander struggled in his major league debut Saturday at San Diego, allowing five runs, five hits and three walks in three-plus innings.