Astros 5, Reds 4

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CINCINNATI (AP)—Ken Griffey Jr. will miss the rest of the season after rupturing a tendon in his right ankle Thursday night, the latest in a string of major injuries for the 11-time All-Star.

Griffey was hurt while running out a double after pausing at home plate as if he thought his drive to left field would be a home run.

He had to speed up and was hurt just after rounding first base in the sixth inning of the Cincinnati Reds’ 5-4 loss to the Houston Astros. The center fielder will have surgery Friday.

“Obviously, it’s devastating. It’s a shame. He’s heartbroken,” Reds general manager Jim Bowden said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I talked to Junior earlier, and I told him that we’re all praying for him.”

Once thought to be a threat to break Hank Aaron’s record of 755 career homers, Griffey has dropped from the game’s elite because of injuries. He hit .247 with 26 RBIs in 53 games this season.

Griffey had been bothered by a sore tendon for about a week and was getting treatment before games.

“The MRI was very clear. The tendon was torn,” Bowden said. “There was no alternative but to surgically repair it.”

The 33-year-old Griffey hit 13 home runs this year, raising his career total to 481. He had 438 homers through 2000, hitting 40 or more in seven of his previous eight seasons.

But since then, he’s hit just 43 and has gone on the disabled list six times.

After 11 seasons with Seattle, he forced a trade in February 2000 to his hometown Reds—the team his father helped win World Series titles in 1975 and 1976.

Griffey hit 40 homers during his first season in Cincinnati, but his production worsened along with his health.

“With all the work he’s put in to be healthy and play for his teammates and the fans of Cincinnati—obviously, it’s very disappointing,” Bowden said.

Going into Thursday’s game, Griffey had homered in the last five games in which he had an at-bat.

“It’s a shame,” Cincinnati manager Bob Boone said before the extent of the injury was known. “He was just starting to get his swing back. He was ready to take off.”

Reached later, Boone said he wouldn’t comment until Friday.

Reds assistant trainer Mark Mann said Griffey told him “as he was rounding first, he felt it pop.”

Griffey will have surgery Friday at The Good Samaritan Hospital, the Reds said, with team physician Dr. Timothy Kremchek and foot and ankle specialist Dr. James Amis operating. Griffey formally will go on the 15-day disabled list Friday.

Cincinnati said he also will have arthroscopic reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder in about two weeks. He dislocated the shoulder April 5 while diving for a ball and was on the disabled list until May 12.

Injuries to both legs and his right shoulder have caused Griffey to miss 140 games since the 2000 season, including 33 this year.

Earlier Thursday, Reds outfielder Austin Kearns went on the DL, retroactive to July 9, because of an inflamed right rotator cuff, an injury that has bothered him since a May 21 collision at the plate with Atlanta’s Ray King.

Cincinnati said it planned to recall right-hander Jose Acevedo and outfielder Ruben Mateo from Triple-A Louisville on Friday. The Reds also scheduled right-hander Scott Sullivan to have an MRI of his sore right shoulder.

“It’s tough to take Kearns and Griffey, our 3 and 4 hitters, out of the lineup,” Bowden said. “They’d been our two best hitters, but they’d both been playing with injuries all year. Mateo has been playing well. I can tell by all the GMs who have called wanting to trade for him.”

As for the game, Geoff Blum hit a two-run single that capped a five-run second inning for NL Central-leading Houston, which stopped a six-game road losing streak.

Rookie left-hander Jeriome Robertson (9-3) won his fifth consecutive start and eighth straight decision, allowing four runs—three earned—and eight hits in five-plus innings. He hasn’t lost in 13 starts since April 25.

“I didn’t feel great,” Robertson said. “I felt too strong, but I didn’t feel like I could overpower people.”

Billy Wagner, Houston’s sixth pitcher, got three outs for his 25th save in 28 chances.

Paul Wilson (5-7) gave up five runs and seven hits in six innings.

Houston scored a combined 15 runs in the first innings of its previous two games against the Reds, but they waited until the second this time.

Lance Berkman started the second with an infield single that glanced off the inside of Wilson’s left foot. Berkman scored on Richard Hidalgos’ double. One out later, Everett blooped a run-scoring double down the right-field line, then scored on Robertson’s soft single. After Craig Biggio doubled, Blum hit a two-run single.

Larkin and Jose Guillen hit consecutive doubles that scored runs for theReds in the first and third innings.

Notes

Blum extended his career-high hitting streak to 16 games. …Robertson’s second-inning RBI was the first in 31 career at-bats.

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