Reds 10, Cardinals 3
Griffey moved into sole possession of 10th place on the career home runs list with his first of the season, and Alex Gonzalez tied career highs with two homers, four hits and five RBIs in a 10-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
“Last year, tying him, just my name and his name mentioned in the same breath was just overwhelming,” Griffey said. “To pass him, sometimes it’s mindboggling because I didn’t think when I started playing this game 19 years ago that I’d be anywhere close to where I am now.”
Griffey entered with no homers and seven RBIs in 51 at-bats, and was limited to one pinch-hit appearance the last four games due to diverticulitis, an inflammation of the colon. He grounded out and walked his first two at-bats before hitting a two-run shot in the fifth, the 564th of his career.
Jackson made a congratulatory telephone call last fall when Griffey tied him, and Griffey expected another call soon.
“Not yet, but somehow he’ll find out,” Griffey said. “I just don’t hit them as long as he did. I don’t get the ooh, aah, ooh shots.”
Manager Jerry Narron, Jackson’s teammate when he hit his 500th homer, didn’t think Jackson would mind dropping out of the top 10.
“Reggie will be fine,” Narron said. “Reggie was one of the best power hitters ever.”
Aaron Harang (3-0) worked into the eighth for the Reds, looking nothing like the team that just completed a 2-5 homestand marred by a .232 batting average, 13 errors and a 5.20 ERA. Cincinnati totaled six runs in its three previous games before punishing the Cardinals, who fell to 1-7 at home.
Kip Wells (1-4) got knocked out in the fifth for St. Louis, which was 49-31 in the first season at new Busch Stadium and wrapped up the World Series there. The Cardinals have been outscored 42-20 at home, getting 10 of the runs in the lone victory.
“What did we do worse today, hit or pitch?” manager Tony La Russa said. “I just think our team had a tough day. The margin is immaterial to me.”
Griffey is a career .304 hitter with 20 homers against the Cardinals, most of any NL team, including a .412 average with four homers and six RBIs against St. Louis last season. He has 30 homers against the Milwaukee Brewers, but only 13 since they moved to the NL in 1998.
It was the second milestone homer for Griffey in St. Louis in recent years. He hit his 500th career homer on Father’s Day in 2004 at old Busch Stadium with his parents in attendance.
This one was only the second of his career as a right fielder, the position he moved to on a full-time basis this year. The other came on May 9, 1994, at Boston off Tony Fossas.
Gonzalez entered with no homers and four RBIs. He hit a two-run homer in the second to start the scoring, doubled and scored in the fourth and capped a five-run fifth with a three-run shot in the fifth for an 8-1 lead. His four hits tied a career high, and he also set a career mark by scoring four runs.
Harang, who led the NL with nine road wins last year, is 3-1 in four starts at year-old Busch Stadium. He allowed two runs on five hits in 7 2-3 innings with five strikeouts and one walk.
Wells, who made his first start against the Reds since 2005, is 2-9 with a 4.90 ERA for his career against them. He surrendered three homers after allowing only one in 26 innings in his first four starts.
“It’s pretty obvious I didn’t make too many good pitches judging by the quality of swings that they took,” Wells said. “I just missed in the middle of the plate a lot and they did a good job of taking advantage of it, and that’s not the way you want to start a homestand.”
The start of the game was delayed 50 minutes by rain. … Harang has made 85 consecutive starts without walking more than three batters. … Gonzalez has five career two-homer games, the last coming on Sept. 23, 2004, at Atlanta. He has four five-RBI games, the last on July 29, 2004, against the Phillies. … Chris Duncan hit an RBI single off Mike Stanton in the eighth for St. Louis and is 11-for-26 (.423) at home.