Kearns, Dunn homer as Reds welcome Griffey back

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Cincinnati Reds won in Ken Griffey Jr.'s
return, not that he had much to do with it.

Griffey grounded out as a pinch-hitter in his first game since
dislocating a shoulder on April 5.

Austin Kearns and Adam Dunn
supplied much of the offense with two-run homers in the first
inning that led the Reds to a 7-2 victory over the Cardinals on
Tuesday night.

"I had one shot and that was it," Griffey said. "I don't like
pinch hitting. Fortunately this is just to get me back in there so
I can go out there and play."

But as Griffey came back, Barry Larkin got hurt again. The
Cincinnati shortstop reinjured his left calf while running the
bases in the second inning and was removed for a pinch-runner. The
Reds said he strained the calf and will be evaluated Wednesday.

An injury to the same calf put Larkin on the disabled list from
April 14 to May 5. He was playing in his sixth game since being

"Hopefully, it's not as bad as it was when I did it at Houston,
but I had some of the same sensations," Larkin said. "I felt like
I actually tore something in there. Hopefully, it was scar

Griffey Jr., who came off the 15-day disabled list before the
game, batted for Paul Wilson (2-3) in the seventh inning and
grounded to shortstop, his first appearance since dislocating his
right shoulder while trying to make a diving catch on the first
weekend of the season.

Manager Bob Boone said Griffey would start
either Wednesday night or Thursday, but not in both games, and then
likely would start every other day for a while.

"We'll have to baby him pretty much in the early going," Boone
said. "He's got to see some pitches."

Griffey said he thought he'd play Wednesday, but Boone was
cryptic. The manager said the decision could hinge on "how my
cereal is in the morning."

Cincinnati (20-19) has won seven of eight overall to move above
.500 for the first time since last Aug. 21, when the Reds were
63-62. The Reds swept a four-game series from the Cardinals last
week in Cincinnati.

"I wouldn't call it luck," Dunn said. "We've played five
pretty good ballgames against them, and it seems like we're doing
the little things to win."

St. Louis, which had won six straight home games, has lost six
of seven overall, dropping to 18-18.

Wilson allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings, and three
pitchers combined for shutout relief.

Jason Simontacchi (1-3) allowed seven runs and seven hits in 1
2-3 innings, the second-shortest outing of his brief career. His
ERA rose to 7.41.

"I don't have any excuses," Simontacchi said. "I just
flat-out stunk. We lost the game because of me."

Manager Tony La Russa didn't disagree.

"I don't want to make too much of it, but the way Jason went
about it early hurt us," La Russa said. "It was the wrong tempo.
Jason is capable of better."

Kearns hit his 12th homer and two batters later Dunn hit his
13th and third in two games, a drive to center estimated at 451
feet. Aaron Boone, who had a three-homer game against the Cardinals
last week, added a two-run double that chased Simontacchi in the

"If we get the bats heated up, we'll be OK," Dunn said.

Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer in the third for the

Wilson allowed at least three runs in the first inning in four
of his first seven starts, entering the game with a 15.43 ERA in
that inning. But he retired the Cardinals in order their first time

"He pitched like he knew what to do with a seven-run lead,"
Boone said. "He didn't walk anybody and went right at them."

Game notes
Simontacchi's worst outing was a one-inning start last Aug.
2 at Atlanta in which he gave up nine runs and seven hits. ...
Edgar Renteria was 2-for-4 and leads the NL with 19 multihit games.
... The Reds have won five of their last six series. ... Cincinnati
has 47 runs in its last eight games. ... Jim Edmonds is in a
3-for-28 slump that has dropped his average from a league-leading
.407 to .333.