Cards Overcome Griffey's 585th Homer

Sunday, July 1st 2007, 3:35 pm
By: News On 6

CINCINNATI (AP) _ Ryan Ludwick hit a solo homer and a pivotal three-run shot Sunday, offsetting another homer by Ken Griffey Jr. and leading the St. Louis Cardinals to an 11-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cardinals overcame a disappointing start by newcomer Mike Maroth, who gave up Griffey's 585th career homer and left the game after failing to get an out in the fourth inning.

Instead, the latest addition to the bullpen came through again.

Reliever Troy Percival (2-0) got his second victory of the series, a triumphant return for the former closer. The 37-year-old reliever was out of baseball for two years because of a bad elbow, but made a comeback at the urging of several friends on the team.

Throwing a 90 mph fastball that has surprised everyone, Percival pitched out of a threat in the fourth to get the victory.

In another dose of discouragement for the major leagues' worst team, Reds rookie Homer Bailey got hit hard for the second straight start. The defining moment came in the third, when Ludwick hit a knee-high fastball into the riverboat-themed party center above the batter's eye.

The shot was estimated at 473 feet, tied for ninth-longest in Great American Ball Park's five seasons.

And, he wasn't done.

Ludwick added a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the fourth off Ricky Stone, the second multihomer game of his up-and-down career. The 28-year-old outfielder has played parts of seasons with Texas and Cleveland, spending most of his career bouncing around the minors.

His family is part of Cardinals lore. His brother, Eric, pitched for St. Louis and was one of three players traded to Oakland for Mark McGwire on July 31, 1977.

Chris Duncan added a two-run homer for the Cardinals, who took two of three in the series. The Reds remained stuck with the worst record in the majors at 31-51, on pace to lose 100 games for the first time since 1982.

Griffey's three-run homer left him one behind Frank Robinson for sixth on the career list and was a prelude to his matchup in the next series against San Francisco's Barry Bonds.

Neither starter made it through the fourth inning, a particular disappointment for two teams near the bottom of the league in pitching.

The Cardinals got Maroth from Detroit in a June 22 trade to steady their depleted rotation. The left-hander gave up five runs in his second start for St. Louis, raising the rotation's earned run average to 5.42, worst in the NL.

Bailey got hit hard for the second consecutive start, raising questions about his readiness for the big leagues. The 21-year-old pitcher has given up 13 hits, eight walks and 13 runs in his last two starts, covering only 5 1-3 innings.

Notes: Ludwick's solo homer was the seventh to clear the front of the batter's eye in center. ... Ludwick also homered twice on Aug. 12, 2003, at Minnesota for Cleveland. ... Duncan also singled twice and walked. ... Reds SS Alex Gonzalez committed his team-high 14th error, twice as many as he had last season for Boston. ... Bonds is 5-for-26 (.192) career at Great American with only two homers. Bonds hit No. 730 last Sept. 4 at Great American, and Griffey dislocated a toe on his right foot while trying to climb the padded wall to catch it.