Griffey's late blast pushes Reds past lowly CubsSep 25, 2006 - 7:25 PM CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Ken Griffey Jr. certainly made up for lost time.
Griffey blasted a three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
It was the 27th homer this season and the 563rd career homer for Griffey, who tied Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson for 10th place on baseball's all-time list.
Griffey, who had been sidelined for the last three weeks with a toe injury, entered the game as a pinch hitter with two outs in the eighth. With runners at the corners, Griffey belted a 1-1 breaking pitch from lefthander Scott Eyre (1-3) over the wall in right field to give Cincinnati a 5-4 lead.
"It was just one of those things," Griffey said. "I was going to come up a couple innings earlier but they didn't get to me. I just wanted to hit a fly ball or something. I was thinking I just didn't want to embarrass myself. The first pitch was nerves then I settled in. He got a ball up in the zone."
"He's been hitting in the cage a lot," Cincinnati manager Jerry Narron said. "We've tried to use him a couple times but wanted to get guys on base for him. Everyone know how difficult it is to play this game, to miss three weeks that seem like a year and come up and do that is really unbelievable."
Chicago manager Dusty Baker praised Griffey, who is 8-for-21 with four homers in his career against Eyre. "Griffey's a pretty amazing guy, who hasn't swung a bat in a couple of weeks," Baker said. "It's not that easy. Only him and Barry Bonds could do that after missing that much time. I knew he had good numbers against Eyre but I used all my relief pitchers to get out of the seventh."
Lefthander Scott Schoeneweis (4-2) recorded the final two outs in the top of the eighth to notch the win and David Weathers worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save.
The Reds wasted a solid outing from starter Bronson Arroyo, who yielded four unearned runs and four hits with two walks and five strikeouts in seven innings.
"It's a no decision that feels like a win," Arroyo said. "But Griffey's proven he's still around for a reason. It's not a fluke. He's getting up in age but the rest just let him relax and get his bat quicker."
Cubs righthander Wade Miller was impressive in just his fourth start this season, yielding three hits and three walks while striking out two in five scoreless frames.
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