Reds 9, Brewers 6

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CINCINNATI (AP)—Ken Griffey Jr. sure looked comfortable batting fifth.

Dropped below the cleanup spot for the first time in 14 years, Griffey homered and drove in a season-high five runs to send the Cincinnati Reds past the Milwaukee Brewers 9-6 Thursday night.

“That was awesome,” teammate Sean Casey said. “That’s one of those games he can play. He was on everything all night. He hit rockets every time up.

“That’s the type of player he is. He can take over a game.”

Griffey went 3-for-5 while hitting fifth, his lowest slot in the lineup since June 22, 1990, for Seattle at Texas. He missed the previous two starts because of a tight right hamstring and began the night batting only .226.

But he hit a two-run homer, his fourth of the year, in the sixth inning. The Reds then capitalized on three errors during a five-run rally in the seventh, with Griffey hitting a two-run single and scoring on Jeff Bennett’s wild pitch.

“He did it,” manager Dave Miley said. “All we did was put him in the five spot. He took advantage of the opportunities and came up with some big hits for us. He got the opportunity and made the best of it.”

Griffey was not available for comment.

Todd Jones (2-1) got the final out of the seventh inning for the win. John Riedling pitched the eighth, and Danny Graves worked the ninth for his NL-leading 12th save in 15 chances.

Bennett (1-3) gave up three of the four unearned runs in the seventh.

The Reds trailed 6-4 when Ryan Freel led off the seventh with a single. D’Angelo Jimenez walked, and Cincinnati loaded the bases when second baseman Keith Ginter mishandled Barry Larkin’s potential double-play ball.

“I looked down to see where the bag was, and I took my eye off the ball,” Ginter said. “I cost us the game. Bennett pitched well enough to win.”

Freel scored when center fielder Scott Podsednik misplayed Casey’s sacrifice fly. After Adam Dunn struck out, Griffey lined a bases-loaded single to right field.

Brandon Larson loaded the bases again with a dribbler up the third-base line, and Casey scored when Bennett couldn’t handle pinch-hitter Juan Castro’s tapper near first base. Bennett followed with his wild pitch.

“The wheels fell off,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “Bennett got the groundball he needed, then the fly ball. You can’t ask young pitchers to get six outs. Any time you give a major league team four or five outs, you’re in trouble.”

The Reds gave up a two-run lead in the ninth inning in one game and a 9-0 lead in the other while being swept in two games last week in Milwaukee.

“That was crazy,” Graves said. “They did it to us last week. That’s how this game is. You never know what’s going to happen. We were down early, but you could tell we were going to come back, because we didn’t stop playing.

“That was a crazy inning. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

Bill Hall matched his career high with three RBIs, two with a fifth-inning home run that gave the Brewers a 4-2 lead.

Milwaukee scored two runs against Aaron Harang in the first. The Reds tied it in the fourth. After Hall restored the lead, the Brewers made it 5-2 in thesixth.

Notes

Griffey’s home run snapped a streak of 67 at-bats without one, his longest drought since going 79 at-bats in May 1993. … Griffey’s five RBIs gave him 1,403 for his career, making him the 60th overall player and sixth active player to reach 1,400. … Hall set a career high by extending his hitting streak to six games. He’s batting .455 (10-for-22) with three home runs in his career at Great American Ball Park. … Both of Hall’s homers thisseason have come against the Reds.

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