Griffey eclipses 1,500 RBI mark in victory

PHOENIX (AP) -- With one dramatic swing Friday night, Ken Griffey
Jr. offered a reminder that he still is a force in major-league

The 35-year-old slugger, plagued by injuries in recent seasons
and toiling for a last-place team, hit a game-tying, three-run
homer in the eighth inning, then Rich Aurilia singled in the
go-ahead run in the ninth to rally the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-3
victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The home run pushed Griffey past 1,500 career RBI. The ball was
retrieved, and given to him in exchange for an autographed

"I'm fortunate to have been healthy early in my career and put
up some numbers," Griffey said. "For the last few years, it seems
like I've just been putting along. The things that I've gone
through the last four years, it does mean something."

Griffey's opposite-field shot off reliever Armando Almanza came
after home runs by Craig Counsell and Troy Glaus gave Arizona a 3-0

"I would never be surprised when he comes through like that,"
Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "He's had a career that is one of
the best ever, and he is still a very, very good ballplayer."

Griffey also doubled, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.
He is 15-for-38 with three homers during that span.

Reliever Lance Cormier (4-1) walked Adam Dunn to open the Reds'
ninth. Pinch-hitter Jacob Cruz singled, then Felipe Lopez grounded
into a fielder's choice to put runners on first and third with two
outs. Aurilia singled sharply to right for his third hit of the
night to make it 4-3.

Arizona manager Bob Melvin used the words "terrible" and
"demoralizing" to describe the loss.

"It's a game we should have won," Counsell said. "They got
the big hits in the eighth and ninth, and we let it slip away."

David Weathers (5-1) pitched a scoreless eighth to get the
victory. Kent Mercker pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save
in three tries.

"What I like to see is even though we're down, our guys are
grindin'," Narron said. "Every manager in baseball likes to see
guys that grind it out."

Cincinnati began the eighth-inning rally with a single by
pinch-hitter Jason Romano, the first time the Reds put the leadoff
man on all night.

After one out, Aurilia's bloop single put runners on first and
second. Lopez, who reached on a fielder's choice, took third on
Chris Snyder's passed ball, and there were runners at first and
third with one out. Halsey got Sean Casey to pop out, but only
after the Reds batter fouled off five pitches, then Melvin went
with Almanza to face Griffey.

"My thinking was Griffey got some good swings off him," Melvin
said. "I wanted to give him [Griffey] a different look. He'd just
gotten an 11-pitch at bat off Casey, where he'd worked very hard.
It doesn't work, but I thought it was the best move there."

Almanza, the third left-handed specialist given a try by the
Diamondbacks this season, made his second appearance in as many
nights since joining the team.

The count ran to 3-2 when Griffey slammed one into the opposite
field seats, his 17th home run of the season. The three RBI gave
Griffey 58 this season and 1,502 for his career.

Halsey, who received a standing ovation when he left with the
3-0 lead, allowed two runs in a career-high 7 2/3 innings. He
struck out four, walked none and hit a batter.

"It's bittersweet," Halsey said. "I've been pitching pretty
bad. It's good to feel good out there again, but to lose a game
like that is tough."

Counsell opened the first with a home run off Ramon Ortiz that
barely cleared the fence in right field. His shot came two years to
the day after his last leadoff homer -- for Arizona against visiting
Colorado on July 8, 2003.

The Diamondbacks added two more in the third. Luis Gonzalez
singled, then Glaus lined a 2-2 pitch from his former Angels
teammate Ortiz into the left field seats for his team-high 19th

Ortiz gave up three runs and six hits in seven innings, striking
out two, walking three and hitting a batter.

Ortiz gave us, striking out two, walking three and hitting a

Game notes
Arizona 1B Chad Tracy made a sliding catch of Joe Randa's
pop foul in the dirt near the stands in the second. ... Ortiz, who
had three hits in 24 at bats coming into the game, was 2-for-2,
including his second double of the season. ... The Reds have won
just 10 road games, but three have come in the last five days.