OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Ken Griffey Jr. sure seems primed for a successful return trip to Seattle.
Griffey’s solo shot off Oakland starter Chad Gaudin gave the slugger 1,652 career RBIs, tying him with Tony Perez for 18th place on the all-time list. It also was Griffey’s 500th RBI in eight seasons with the Reds.
“You can have some great milestones and not win a championship, and that is every kid’s goal and my goal,” Griffey said. “We won. That’s the most important thing. I just do what I can. Some days are better than others. It’s about continuing to do the little things and eventually you’ll get one up and out.”
The home run, which drew Griffey within one of Mark McGwire for seventh place on the career list, staked rookie Homer Bailey to a 4-0 lead in the third inning.
Bailey (2-0), impressive in just his third major league start, didn’t allow a hit until Mark Ellis singled to start the fifth and only yielded two total on the night. It was reliever Todd Coffey who gave up Kurt Suzuki’s first career home run in the eighth.
“We needed a good start and he gave it to us,” Reds skipper Jerry Narron said. “He’s had three pretty good outings against three pretty tough clubs.”
David Weathers recorded the final four outs for his 14th save in 16 chances, the seventh time he’s saved a game by getting at least three outs.
Griffey—set to make his first appearance in Seattle this weekend since leaving the Mariners after the 1999 season—connected for his seventh homer in his last 12 games. Gaudin (6-2) became the 369th different pitcher to surrender a home run to the 37-year-old Griffey, who also had his 1,076th extra-base hit to move him past Reggie Jackson for sole possession of 18th place on that list.
“I was kind of thinking, ‘All right, here we go.’ And it seemed like he came out of nowhere,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “I remember him in Cleveland. He has incredible athletic ability.”
Bailey, a 21-year-old right-hander, went a season-best seven innings and allowed only Mark Kotsay’s sixth-inning RBI double after Ellis’ hit. Bailey’s fastball was clocked at 96 mph, he struck out three and walked four in a 93-pitch outing.
“He’s a high school kid,” said Suzuki, who is only two years Bailey’s elder. “He’s got to have something that’s nasty or he wouldn’t be up here this fast. … He did a really good job of mixing up his speeds. He doesn’t really give you anything over the middle of the plate to hit.”
Gaudin saw the end of his streak of five straight winning decisions, picking up his first loss in 10 starts since a 4-1 defeat to Tampa Bay on April 27.
He allowed four runs on seven hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out four and walked two. Gaudin gave up only two hits after Griffey’s home run—just the fourth longball against him in his first 85 innings this season.
“Once again, I got myself in trouble early,” Gaudin said. “I couldn’t do too much, didn’t have too much room for error.”
Athletics C Jason Kendall got the day off. Suzuki started and batted ninth. … The Reds called closer Eddie Guardado, recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery, back from his rehab outing after his back became stiff during an inning of work for Triple-A Louisville on Monday. Guardado will likely rejoin the team Friday in Seattle. … Reds RHP Bronson Arroyo had his start pushed back to Sunday, and Kyle Lohse will start Saturday. Arroyo hasn’t won since May 6, going 0-6 in his last eight starts with a 7.83 ERA.