CINCINNATI (AP) -- After three at-bats, Aaron Boone had three homers and way too many thoughts of history flooding his mind.
Boone hit three homers off Brett Tomko, including two during Cincinnati's nine-run first inning, then came up short in his uneasy quest for four Friday night as the Reds held on for a 12-10
victory over the San Diego Padres.
After Boone got the three homers so fast, his teammates started
telling him stories about other players who have tried for four.
Four in one game? Boone never imagined he'd have three.
"I hit four once in tee-ball,'' he said. "I used to whale them to right field.
"I don't even know what to say. It was just kind of weird. After I hit the third homer, I was a fish out of water and a little uncomfortable out there the rest of the game.''
He struck out and had an infield single, completing the best
overall game of his career. His four hits and five RBI tied his
career highs and helped him win back some family bragging rights.
"Now he can tell his mom that he hit more homers (in a game) than his dad,'' said his father, manager Bob Boone.
He also had kept up with his brother, Bret, who hit two homers in an inning for Seattle on May 2. Bret Boone has a pair of three-homer games.
"You want to go for it,'' he said. "You want to take a shot at history a little bit. It was pretty weird. I'm glad it's over.''
So was Tomko (5-8), who was responsible for the biggest first
inning ever against the Padres. Jason LaRue also had a two-run homer in the first as the Reds put together their biggest inning in three years.
"I don't know how to explain that first inning,'' Tomko said. "You don't see that very often. I told (Barry) Larkin when he got to second base to take the tee off the plate. It was one of those innings where if something's going to go wrong, it will go wrong.''
It almost wasn't enough for knuckleballer Jared Fernandez, who
couldn't control his darting pitch. The Padres cut the lead to 9-5
in the third, and Ryan Klesko came to bat with the bases loaded
representing the tying run. He grounded out, ending the Padres'
chance to catch up.
They made the Reds squirm in the ninth, when pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay hit a two-run homer and closer Danny Graves started warming in the Reds' bullpen.
Boone came into the game in a 3-for-26 slump, but homered on the
first pitch from Tomko for a 2-0 lead. Sean Casey had a two-run
single, and Tomko put his hands on his knees and dropped his head
after LaRue's homer made it 7-1.
Boone's two-out homer completed the rally and got the 22,708
fans yelling "BOONE!'' He acknowledged the crowd again after his
solo homer in the fourth, his 21st of the season.
Boone became the first Reds player to homer twice in an inning since May 13, 1980, when Ray Knight did it against the Mets. Knight, the Reds' bench coach, congratulated Boone after each homer.
It marked the second time in five games that a Reds player hit
three homers against the Padres. Russell Branyan did it Sunday
during a 15-10 win in San Diego.
Tomko was pitching in Cincinnati for the first time since the
February 2000 trade that sent him to Seattle and moved Ken Griffey
Jr. back to his hometown. While with the Reds, Tomko was known for
giving up homers -- the Mets hit five off of him in one game in
He had a flashback on Friday, giving up four homers and 10 runs in only 3 1/3 innings. Tomko hadn't allowed more than six runs in any of his 23 previous starts this season.
The Padres' previous record for a first inning was eight runs allowed in San Francisco on Oct. 1, 1977. ... It was the Reds' biggest inning since they scored nine in the fifth inning against
Philadelphia on Sept. 4, 1999. ... The Padres have lost 15 of Tomko's last 18 starts. ... Walker pitched the sixth inning, giving up three hits and two runs. It was the left-hander's first appearance since reconstructive elbow surgery last August. ... Boone also drove in five runs on July 2, 2000. It was the sixth four-hit game of his career. ... Casey was activated off the DL before the game. His first-inning single snapped an 0-for-12 slump. He had been disabled by a torn muscle in the back of his left shoulder.