CINCINNATI (AP) -- Felipe Lopez has matched Ken Griffey Jr. in
homers -- for part of a season, anyway.
Surprising? Not to Lopez, who did more in one night than Griffey
and two of his 500-homer partners combined.
Lopez hit his second career grand slam, jolting Cincinnati out
of its bases-loaded slump, and singled home two more runs Saturday
night, leading a 10-1 rout of the Baltimore Orioles.
Before the first pitch, three of the game's greatest power
hitters posed behind home plate for a commemorative photograph. The
interleague series marked the first time that three 500-homer
sluggers played together -- Sammy Sosa (580), Rafael Palmeiro (559)
and Griffey (511).
As in the series opener, the trio watched a lightweight do the
damage. Lopez, who has 32 homers in five seasons, hit his grand
slam in the second inning off Daniel Cabrera (5-5). Lopez and
Griffey are now tied for second on the Reds with 10 homers apiece.
"I'm not surprised at the power," said the shortstop, who had
never hit more than eight in a season. "I've always been capable
of hitting home runs. That's not my game, but I can hit them. I try
to stay patient and not miss too many pitches. That's what I did
when I was young -- missed too many pitches."
Given a big early lead, Brandon Claussen (3-3) held the AL's top
hitting lineup to three hits over a career-high eight innings. The
left-hander lost his shutout when Sal Fasano homered with two outs
in the eighth.
"Any pitcher will tell you -- or even hitters -- that once you
get in a groove, it's easy," Claussen said. "The key is to stay
Adam Dunn added a two-run shot for the Reds, who have homered 15
times in the last five games against Tampa Bay and Baltimore.
Lopez's two-run single gave him a career-high six RBI.
The game started with a touch of nostalgia. Pitcher Jose Rijo
and center fielder Eric Davis -- the cornerstones of Cincinnati's
1990 World Series championship team -- were inducted into the team's
Hall of Fame.
Lopez got the crowd of 32,834 to its feet again with his
decisive homer in the second inning, when the Reds loaded the bases
with none out on a pair of singles and a walk. Cabrera then walked
Claussen -- 0-for-13 this season -- on four pitches, forcing in a
run. Three pitches later, Lopez homered to right off a fastball.
"He got me in the first inning on a similar pitch," Lopez
said. "I tried to stay back and hit the ball hard somewhere. The
ball stayed up, and I took advantage."
It was a breakthrough for the Reds, who were hitting .192 with
the bases loaded and less than two outs. During a 4-3 loss to the
Orioles on Friday, the Reds loaded the bases twice and managed only
one run -- on a wild pitch.
It also marked the second time in the series that a low-profile
hitter delivered the game's pivotal homer. Baltimore's Melvin Mora
had a three-run shot on Friday night, putting the Orioles ahead to
Dunn added his 16th homer off another fastball as Cincinnati
knocked Cabrera out of the game in the third. The right-hander
matched his season high by giving up seven runs in two-plus
innings, his shortest start of the season.
Manager Lee Mazzilli talked to Cabrera on the mound before
deciding to take him out.
"I asked him what the problem was," Mazzilli said. "He really
didn't know. He just didn't feel right, he said. "As soon as he
said he didn't feel right, that was it."
Cabrera has been maddeningly inconsistent this season, failing
to go four innings in three of his 12 starts. His problem Saturday
was an unpredictable fastball.
"My ball was moving too much," he said. "I tried to control
The 500-homer trio got only one ball as far as the warning track
-- Griffey's fly out in the first inning. They've combined for one
extra-base hit in the series, Griffey's solo homer on Friday night.
Sosa is 0-for-6 with four strikeouts in the series, played in
the ballpark where he hit No. 500 two years ago with the Cubs.
Since returning May 24 from an infected left foot, Sosa is hitting
.186 with two homers.
Lopez's other grand slam was April 26 in Chicago off Ryan
Dempster. Lopez is 3-for-4 with the bases loaded this season. ...
OF Wily Mo Pena and 2B Ryan Freel were out of the Reds lineup with
sore knees. ... Eli Marrero, acquired by the Orioles in a trade
with Kansas City on Wednesday, made his first start for Baltimore --
in center field. ... Right-handed batters are hitting .188 off
Cabrera without a homer. Left-handers are .313 with seven homers.
... The Orioles are 6-6 on a 13-game, four-city trip that is their
longest of the season. ... Griffey's 13-game hitting streak ended.
... Baltimore's Steve Reed made his 825th appearance, moving ahead
of Tug McGraw for 27th place on the career list.