CINCINNATI (AP)—Ken Griffey Jr. was due for a day off after Saturday night’s game. His performance made him think twice about resting.
Alex Gonzalez and former Reds player Juan Encarnacion each had three hits to lead the Marlins to their second straight win after they arrived at Great American Ball Park with a six-game losing streak.
“Our guys are picking each other up,” said Florida manager Jack McKeon, a former Reds manager. “We’re getting key hits, and we haven’t been doing that on this road trip.”
The Reds fell below .500 for the first time since May 17 with their third consecutive loss. Cincinnati has lost six of its last nine games, including the last three at home entering Sunday’s finale of the homestand.
The team’s struggles was a big reason Griffey was thinking about asking manager Bob Boone whether he could play Sunday. He returned May 13 from a dislocated right shoulder that had sidelined him since April 5.
“We need to get one before we go into Atlanta,” Griffey said. “(Sunday’s) a big day for us. You never want to go on a road trip with a loss. It makes an hour plane trip seem like four or five.”
Griffey has 472 career home runs. He has four this season, including three in his last five games.
“We’re giving him consecutive at bats,” Boone said. “We’ve seen it before. Physically, if he’s good, we’ll see it all the time.”
Griffey responded to pleas from the large crowd for a curtain call after his second homer. The two-homer game was the 45th of his career and 47th multihomer game.
“I just got some pitches I could hit,” he said. “The last couple of days, I felt like I was trying to feel my way. Today, I worked on a few things early—plus, (Boone) told me I had a day off tomorrow, so I had to get all of my hits today.”
It was 2-2 when Encarnacion led off the Marlins’ seventh with an infield single. Gonzalez followed with a bunt single, and Brian Banks’ sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk loaded the bases.
“We talked before the game about hitting in those situations, and how the pressure’s on (the opponents),” Pierre said. “I didn’t hit the ball that well. It was placement more than anything.”
Griffey followed singles by Sean Casey with home runs in the first and eighth innings.
“We weren’t concerned about Griffey’s homer,” McKeon said. “We were leading by three, so a two-run homer doesn’t beat us.”
Brad Penny (3-3) was effective, a day after he was scratched from a start because of the flu.
Penny’s win was his first in seven starts since he won at Philadelphia on April 16.
“I think he’s starting to get his confidence back,” McKeon said. “He’s pitching pretty well. He’s just got to cut down on the number of pitches so that he can stay out there longer.”
Braden Looper pitched the ninth for his sixth save in seven opportunities.
Cincinnati’s Austin Kearns had his hitting streak snapped at a career-high 16 games. … Marlins 1B Derrek Lee played in his 259th consecutive game, breaking a tie with Preston Wilson for second place in club history. Jeff Conine set the record with 307. … Bobblehead dolls of the Reds’ radio announcing team, Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall, drew Cincinnati’s second sellout crowd of the season and the first since opening day. … Florida C Ivan Rodriguez left the game after six innings with a bruised right foot. X-rayswere negative and he was listed as day-to-day.
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