SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- With the game on the line, Ken Griffey Jr.
faced the worst sun he had seen in his 17 major league seasons, and
his ninth-inning misplays in center field certainly had the Reds
fearing another heartbreaking road defeat.
"It's one of those things that if you keep playing and keep
battling, things are going to happen," said Griffey, who hit his
517th career home run in the third. "Fortunately, especially in
the ninth with the two balls hit at me, we got a break and they
weren't able to score the tying run."
Jason LaRue hit a tiebreaking three-run double and finished with
a career-high six RBI, and his big day helped the Reds end a
four-game road losing streak and win away from Great American Ball
Park for just the third time in their last 19.
LaRue hit a two-run homer in the third following his
second-inning sacrifice fly, then lined a double to right in the
sixth with the bases loaded. LaRue had six RBI in his previous 14
"I never worried. I know I can do what I'm doing," he said.
He wasn't the only one to produce some big hits.
Wily Mo Pena hit a three-run homer in the fourth that extended
his career-best hitting streak to 10 games for the Reds, who opened
a seven-game road trip with an impressive power display.
Griffey hit his 16th homer of the season leading off the third,
moving within four of tying Willie McCovey and Ted Williams for
14th on the career list.
"All I can say is, wow," Reds interim manager Jerry Narron
said. "Jason LaRue had a huge day for us."
Ryan Wagner (3-2) pitched two innings for his first win since
May 27. Kent Mercker allowed back-to-back doubles to pinch-hitter
Pedro Feliz and Moises Alou to start the ninth -- Griffey said he
couldn't see either ball -- and was replaced by Belisle, who got the
final three outs for his first major league save.
"I love it!" he said. "It was awesome."
San Francisco's J.T. Snow doubled among his three hits, drove in
two runs, and made a remarkable stop at first with the bases loaded
in the second. He dove to knock the ball down, then threw from a
seated position on the ground to pitcher Kirk Rueter on the bag.
Alou had two RBI doubles and Michael Tucker doubled twice, had
an RBI single and scored three runs for the Giants, who lost their
third straight following a four-game winning streak.
After San Francisco went ahead on Deivi Cruz's solo home run in
the fifth, the Reds tied the game at 8 in the sixth when Rich
Aurilia scored on a passed ball by Jack Taschner, which spoiled a
chance for Jeremy Accardo (0-2) to notch his first major league
Elizardo Ramirez, recalled before the game from Triple-A
Louisville and sent back down afterward, failed to pick up his
first major league victory in his fourth big league start. He has
allowed a home run in each start. This was his first start since
May 26 and first appearance since June 3.
The Giants scored the tying run in the fourth when Ramirez
failed to hold onto a throw from Felipe Lopez trying to complete a
double play at first.
Ramirez gave up a single to Snow moments later, and he was done
after 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander was tagged for seven runs on
three hits and he walked two.
Rueter allowed a season-high three homers after giving up only
four homers in 17 previous games against the Reds.
Rueter, who hasn't won since beating the Astros in Houston on
May 13, also saw his winless stretch reach nine starts and he has a
five-game losing streak during that span.
He allowed seven runs and nine hits in four innings, struck out
two and walked four.
Manager Felipe Alou said afterward the Giants would discuss
whether to keep the struggling left-hander in the rotation.
"It's an uphill battle," he said of the rotation. "Coming
into spring training, we had what I thought was a very good
situation with the starting rotation. We're scoring enough runs to
win games. You say we need Barry Bonds, but this team hits."
It was Griffey's first homer on the Fourth of July. There
are just 13 calendar days between March 31 and Oct. 3 on which he
hasn't homered. ... Aurilia, the Reds' 2B who spent parts of nine
seasons with the Giants, is still a fan favorite at SBC Park. He
received a warm ovation when the batting order was announced and
again during his first at-bat. ... Rueter allowed four homers in
six June starts. He has walked four in each of his last three
starts and four of five. ... The Reds sent LHP Randy Keisler to
Triple-A Louisville for a rehab assignment. He's been on the DL
since June 26 with left elbow inflammation. ... LaRue has had five
RBI in a game twice. ... The Reds will purchase the contract of
RHP Jason Standridge from Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday.