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Griffey homers before getting hurt

ATLANTA (AP) -- Ken Griffey Jr. wasn't overly excited about
catching Mickey Mantle -- or especially concerned about his latest
injury.

Jason LaRue's pinch-hit grand slam capped a five-run 12th inning
to help the Cincinnati Reds end a five-game losing streak with an
8-3 victory Sunday over the Atlanta Braves.

Griffey hit his 536th homer in the first, tying Mantle for 12th
on the career list. His 35th of the season came off Horacio Ramirez
on a 1-0 pitch.

"I was just trying to get a pitch I could hit. It hit a little
off the end of the bat and just got out," Griffey said.

Austin Kearns hit an RBI double in the 12th off Dan Kolb (3-7)
to give Cincinnati a 4-3 lead.

Edwin Encarnacion had a one-out single before Griffey singled
him to third. Kearns followed with his double to right, scoring
Encarnacion. Griffey, however, hobbled into third and left the game
with a sprained right foot. He is day to day.

"It's just a little sore. We'll see how it feels tomorrow and
go from there," said Griffey, who said he would not play Monday
against Milwaukee. "They said I was going to get a day off in the
next couple of days anyway, so I guess tomorrow is it."

Griffey, who will turn 36 in November, missed 331 games from
2001-04 with a variety of injuries, hitting only 63 homers during
those four seasons.

"He's one of the greatest players ever to play the game," Reds
manager Jerry Narron said. "When you talk about center fielders
like Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays and Mantle, he's up there with them.
If he hadn't missed the last three-four years with injuries, he'd
probably have at least 100 more homers."

Griffey said he met Mantle once, at Yankee Stadium when his
father played for the Yankees.

"I was 12 or 13," said Griffey, who until his string of
injuries was considered one of the players most likely to challenge
Hank Aaron's record of 755 home runs.

"I don't worry about it. I just go out there and try to do the
best I can," Griffey said. "Whatever people think, that's fine."

Sean Casey was walked intentionally before LaRue hit a 3-2 pitch
from Kolb into the left-field stands, his 11th homer of the season.
Kolb left to a chorus of boos from the crowd of 34,472.

"I don't hear that stuff," Kolb said. "I just go out and
pitch. I didn't do it today."

Matt Belisle (3-6) earned the win with a scoreless 11th inning.

Javier Valentin hit a two-run homer in the seventh to give
Cincinnati a 3-2 lead.

The Braves, who had won three straight, got a pair of solo
homers and a triple from Marcus Giles, who scored three times.
Chipper Jones added an RBI double.

"When you lose a game it just spoils everything," Giles said.
"The loss overshadows anything personal."

The Braves tied it at 3 in the eighth against reliever David
Weathers. Giles tripled off the center-field fence with two outs
and scored on Jones' double.

Cincinnati starter Ramon Ortiz, who entered 0-2 with a 17.05 ERA
against Atlanta this season, allowed only three hits in 7 2-3
innings. Giles hit a homer in the first and another in the sixth
off the right-hander, who walked three and struck out five. Ortiz
has allowed 28 home runs this season.

Valentin hit his two-run shot in the seventh off Ramirez
following a single by Wily Mo Pena. Valentin, a switch-hitter, was
batting only .120 (3-for-25) right-handed before his home run.

Ramirez, who has given up 29 homers, went 7 2-3 innings. The
left-hander allowed seven hits, three runs, walked three and struck
out a season-high seven.

"We wasted a real super job by Ramirez," Atlanta manager Bobby
Cox said.

Game notes
Giles also made a pair of outstanding grabs at 2B on liners
by Kearns in the 10th and Ray Olmedo in the 11th. ... Atlanta
rookie Jeff Francoeur, who left Saturday night's 9-3 win with a
bruised left ankle after Brian Shackelford hit him with a pitch,
was in the starting lineup. ... The Braves have 25 games left, all
but three against the NL East.