Sport - National
Dodgers 10, Reds 5
Sunday, May 13th 2007, 8:56 PM CDT
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Ken Griffey Jr. hit yet another home run on Mother's Day. It wasn't enough for Cincinnati, though, because the Los Angeles Dodgers' offense was back in the pink.
Rafael Furcal went 4-4 with a run-scoring bunt, Juan Pierre singled home the go-ahead run during a 5-run 8th inning and Nomar Garciaparra had 3 RBI singles, leading the NL West leaders to a 10-5 victory over the Reds on Sunday.
``Today was a good day for us and everybody contributed,'' Luis Gonzalez said. ``It's nice having a lineup like we have, with a lot of balance. We all rely on each other. And when things aren't going well, there's other guys who have to pick up the slack.''
Griffey's 570th career homer was his sixth on Mother's Day, the most by any active player. The 12-time All-Star, one of many players using pink bats Sunday to help raise breast cancer awareness, drove a first-pitch fastball from Mark Hendrickson deep into the right-field pavilion with 2 on and 2 outs in the 4th to give Cincinnati a 5-3 lead.
The other pitchers Griffey homered against on Mother's Day were Lance McCullers (1990), Scott Erickson (1993), Jim Abbott (1995), Dan Plesac (1998) and Jeff Weaver (2005), who was with the Dodgers at the time.
``I've had some pretty good luck on Mother's Day. If you hit a home run, it's a cheap way of getting out of a gift,'' Griffey said with a grin. ``My mom's real easy. All she wants is a phone call. I think that's all most mothers really care about _ just a phone call from us, letting them know we think about them. She never really asks for anything. But if she did, she'd definitely get it.''
Birdie Griffey lives in Orlando, Fla., about 3 miles from where her famous son lives in the offseason with his wife and three children. She never passed up an opportunity to play catch with Junior when he was growing up and his father was playing for Cincinnati's ``Big Red Machine'' in the mid-1970s.
``She always let me and my brother just be kids,'' Griffey recalled. ``She told me to be a responsible adult and be someone society can respect. The best advice she ever game me was, `Just be yourself and not act like anybody else. Just be who you are.' But now that she's a grandmother, her priorities have shifted a little bit.''
The Dodgers broke the game open against a beleaguered Cincinnati bullpen. Kirk Saarloos (0-3) gave up singles to his first four batters, including RBI singles by Pierre and Garciaparra with the infield pulled in. Mike Stanton walked pinch-hitter Ramon Martinez to force in another run before Andre Ethier capped the rally with a 2-run single.
``We just do everything we can to get them out there in a spot where they can be successful,'' Reds manager Jerry Narron said. ``I don't think it's a secret that we don't have a lot of strikeout guys in our bullpen, so we need to make quality pitches.''
Jonathan Broxton (2-1) pitched a perfect 8th for the win, helping the Dodgers beat the Reds for the ninth straight time and 15th in the last 19 meetings.
Griffey's 3 RBIs increased his total to 1,631, breaking a tie with Harold Baines for 20th on the career list and putting him within 5 of Ernie Banks. With the home run, Griffey passed Rafael Palmeiro for sole possession of ninth place on the career chart, 3 behind Harmon Killebrew.
The Dodgers' Jeff Kent also found one of those pink bats to his liking, homering in the 5th to pull the Dodgers within a run. Rookie Andy LaRoche scored the tying run from 3rd base in the 6th when catcher David Ross' throw got away from shortstop Alex Gonzalez on a stolen base by Furcal.
``I think Griffey woke us up to the reality that we needed to score some runs if we were going to win today,'' Kent said. ``We've been playing some small-run ballgames for a while, especially day games after night games when guys are struggling to get themselves out of bed, walk to the plate and drive in runs.''
Cincinnati's Bobby Livingston allowed 4 runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings in his first major league start. The 24-year-old left-hander was promoted from AAA Louisville before the game to replace lefty Eric Milton, who went on the disabled list Wednesday because of inflammation in his elbow.
Hendrickson was charged with 5 runs _ 4 earned _ and 8 hits in 5 2-3 innings.