Griffey hits No. 569 as Reds spoil Astros' bid for sweep

Unsung hero: Reds pitcher Aaron Harang went 6 2/3 innings allowing five runs on nine hits and struck out five. He is 8-1 in his last 11 starts.

Figure this: Cincinnati snapped a five-game losing streak to Houston, winning for second time in its last 10 games against the Astros.

Figure this II: The loss snapped Houston's three-game road win streak as well as a three-game overall win streak. Additionally, the Astros have lost nine of their last 13 road games.

Quotable: "I wouldn't recommend it as a way to learn patience, but when you break your hand, you don't want to be swinging at too many pitches early. It hurt the first three weeks of spring training. Look at how I took batting practice. The first couple of times, I didn't swing at very many balls." -- Ken Griffey Jr., on how his hand injury has helped him.

Elias Says: Adam Dunn had a double, triple and homer for Cincinnati, becoming the first Reds player in 13 years to fall a single short of a cycle; Reggie Sanders did that against the Marlins on April 24, 1994.

-- ESPN.com news services

Reds 9, Astros 5

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Now that his hand is fully healed, Ken Griffey Jr. is climbing the home run list again.

Griffey hit his 569th career homer Thursday, a two-run shot that tied him for ninth place on the career list and helped the Cincinnati Reds get a breakthrough 9-5 victory over the Houston Astros.

Houston won the first three games of the series, improving to 5-0 at Great American Ball Park this season.

Pitcher Woody Williams and the Astros make themselves at home when they come here. Williams called a vendor over to the dugout and bought four bags of peanuts during the first inning, sharing them with teammates.

Griffey and Adam Dunn led the Reds to their elusive first win.

Cincinnati pulled ahead 7-0 after three innings against starter Matt Albers (1-2) and held on. Dunn hit a three-run homer, his sixth in the last 11 games, and added a triple and a double, coming up one single short of hitting for the cycle.

Griffey had a sacrifice fly and a two-run homer off Albers that left him tied with Rafael Palmeiro on the career list. Harmon Killebrew is eighth at 573.

"Just keep plugging away," Griffey said. "My thing was I was just trying to get the guy home from third, and it just happened to go out."

The 37-year-old outfielder has been on a tear since he moved back into his accustomed third spot in the batting order. Griffey has hit safely in seven of those eight games, with four of his six homers.

He missed most of spring training because of a broken left hand, suffered last December. The injury wound up helping him as a hitter.

"I wouldn't recommend it as a way to learn patience, but when you break your hand, you don't want to be swinging at too many pitches early," Griffey said. "It hurt the first three weeks of spring training. Look at how I took batting practice. The first couple of times, I didn't swing at very many balls."

Aaron Harang (5-1) struggled to hold the early lead, giving up Chris Burke's three-run homer as Houston cut it to 7-5. Then, the Reds sweated out more bullpen drama.

The Astros loaded the bases with one out in the eighth off left-hander Mike Stanton. Closer David Weathers escaped the threat after a frightful moment -- pinch-hitter Morgan Ensberg's potential grand-slam drive hooked foul down the line.

Ensberg took a few steps from the plate and pointed fair with his right hand, then gave up when he saw the ball hooking.

"Not close enough," Ensberg said. "Off the bat, I thought I might have a chance. I could tell pretty clearly it was going to be foul halfway (toward the pole)."

Weather recovered by striking him out on the next pitch, then finished it off for his seventh save in eight tries. Cincinnati's bullpen has only two saves since April 15.

"I'm screaming, 'Go foul,' and he's screaming, 'Go fair," Weathers said. "Luckily, it went foul. It was a slider. Then I struck him out with a slider. Bad slider. Good slider."

Houston was trying to reach .500 for the first time since April 23 and finish its first four-game sweep in Cincinnati since July 17-20, 2003, nine days before the Reds fired manager Bob Boone and general manager Jim Bowden.

Four years later, the Reds are in another free fall, finishing a 2-5 homestand that dropped them into last place in the NL Central. They trail the first-place Brewers by an imposing 9 1/2 games.

For once, they managed to contain Lance Berkman, who homered in each of the first three games of the series. Berkman has been a huge problem for the Reds throughout his career -- 38 homers and 107 RBIs, his highest totals against any team.

The Astros couldn't overcome a poor start by Albers, who got hit hard in his first career appearance at the homer-friendly ballpark. Dunn hit his team-high 11th homer in the first inning to set the tone, and added a triple off Albers in his next at-bat.

"You'd like to win four, no question," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "We had a lot of momentum going into this game, but they took it away from us early."

Dunn doubled in the fifth off Brian Moehler, leaving him only a single away from the cycle. No Reds players has achieved it since Eric Davis on June 2, 1989, against San Diego. Dunn grounded into a double play in the sixth, his final plate appearance.

David Ross added a two-run homer in the fifth off Moehler.

Game notes
The Astros are 7-2 overall against the Reds this season. ... Berkman went 6-for-14 during the series with three homers. ... Burke's homer was his 200th career hit and his first homer since Sept. 12 at St. Louis. ... Dunn has two triples this season, matching his career high. ... 2B Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games.