Sports Today

By Tom Withers Associated Press Published:

Ken Griffey Jr.'s three-run homer in the eighth inning tied it and Aaron Boone's two-run single in the 13th helped Cincinnati snap a season-high, five-game losing streak with a 7-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

Caught in the middle of an early AL Central race between Chicago and Cleveland, the Reds were in jeopardy of being swept, going 0-6 in interleague play and facing a long flight to San Francisco before they rallied.

"It does a lot," Griffey said. "We avoided a sweep. We battled our butts off to win the game. It says a lot about the guys in the locker room that we didn't give up."

Boone's base hit off Scott Kamieniecki (1-3) completed the Reds' comeback that began when they scored five runs in the eighth to tie it 5-all.

"This one could get us on a roll," said Boone. "It was a very important win. The way we've been going, to come back from down 5-0 and get a win was huge. We needed it badly."

Griffey singled leading off the 13th and Michael Tucker followed with a perfectly placed bunt between the mound and first base.

Second baseman Roberto Alomar, who didn't start because of a sore left wrist and entered in the 11th as a pinch-runner, fielded the bunt cleanly but foolishly tried to make a behind-the-back throw to Kamieniecki covering the bag and the ball went into Cincinnati's dugout.

"He bunted it in just the right spot. There was nobody there," said Alomar. "I thought that was the only chance I had, but I should have kept it."

After an intentional walk, Boone singled down the left-field line to make it 7-5 and the Reds won for just the fourth time in 11 games.

"For a couple of days we weren't getting the breaks," said Griffey. "But the guys came through when we needed it."

Manny Aybar (1-2), Cincinnati's fifth pitcher, worked two innings for the win.

Richie Sexson homered and Kenny Lofton reached base six of seven times for the Indians.

Both teams blew excellent scoring chances earlier. The Indians stranded 14 runners and left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th when Omar Vizquel hit into an inning-ending double play.

"We left guys on third," said Indians manager Charlie Manuel. "We had all kinds of chances. We had chances to put up a lot of runs and didn't get it done."

Shut out on one hit through seven innings by Chuck Finley, the Reds scored five in the eighth, tying it on Griffey's three-run shot to straightaway center off Justin Speier.

Finley had retired 18 of 19 before tiring and Boone doubled to start the eighth and Chris Stynes singled. A wild pitch on ball four to Benito Santiago pushed across Cincinnati's first run and chased Finley, who lost a shutout in the ninth in his last start.

"He just ran out of gas," Manuel said.

Steve Reed, who had allowed only one hit in his last nine appearances, gave up a sacrifice fly that made it 5-2 and was replaced by Speier after giving up a two-out single to Barry Larkin.

Without a left-handed reliever available in his bullpen because of injuries, Manuel decided to bring in Speier, who had struck out Griffey in Friday's win.

But Speier grooved a 2-0 fastball to Griffey, who hit it into the picnic area beyond the centerfield wall for his 18th homer. Of Griffey's 18 homers, 11 have either tied games or put the Reds ahead.

Notes: Cleveland leads the baseball battle of Ohio, 9-6. ... Griffey has a major league-high 23 homers in interleague play. ... Fryman played first base for the first time in his career (1,384 games) in the 11th when Manuel had to make several defensive switches. ... Reds OF Dante Bichette left with a sprained right ankle in the fourth. Bichette rolled his ankle while sliding back into second base on a pickoff attempt in the second. ... The sellout was the 400th straight at Jacobs Field. The last time the Indians didn't play in front of a full house was on June 7, 1995, against Detroit.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.