Griffey takes place as an elite slugger with 600th homer
By: By CHARLIE MCCARTHY, For The Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) — Ken Griffey Jr. insisted he never dreamed of joining baseball’s ultimate group of power hitters when he reached the majors 19 years ago. “My father hit 152 home runs, and that’s who I wanted to be like,” said Griffey, who hit his 600th career homer Monday night to join Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa as the only players to do so. Griffey connected off Mark Hendrickson in the first inning of the Cincinatti Reds’ 9-4 victory over the Florida Marlins. The 38-year-old slugger hit a 3-1 pitch 413 feet into the right-field seats with Jerry Hairston on third and one out. “I was just trying to get a pitch I could hit and be as patient as possible,” Griffey said. “And I was fortunate enough to get a curveball I could drive.” Griffey started the season with 593 home runs despite numerous injuries in recent years — enough to make a lot of people wonder how many homers he could have had if he had stayed relatively healthy. “No, I don’t think about that,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I appreciate where he is right now.” In the other NL games Monday, It was: Pittsburgh 5, Arizona 3 and San Francisco 3, Washington 2. Paul Bako had his first career multihomer game — three-run and two-run shots — and Brandon Phillips added a solo homer in support of Edinson Volquez (9-2). Griffey ended the game 1-for-4 with a strikeout and an intentional walk. He exited in the middle of the eighth. Volquez gave up three runs, three hits, five walks and struck out five in six innings. Hairston left the game in the middle of the first after suffering a fractured left thumb when stealing second. Hendrickson (7-4) allowed six runs — five earned — and five hits in 21/3 innings. Mike Jacobs homered for the Marlins. But the night belonged to Griffey. “We saw 400 the other day with (Atlanta’s) Chipper (Jones) and 600 today,” Marlins left fielder Luis Gonzalez said. “It’s not the side you want to be on.” Baker said Griffey told him on Sunday he would hit No. 600. Hairston said the slugger told him the same thing before Monday night’s game. “I say a lot things,” Griffey, said with a smile. In the last year of his contract with Cincinnati, Griffey sounded like someone who isn’t thinking of retirement yet. “I enjoy baseball and as long as I can go out there and help a team win I’ll do it,” he said. Griffey, whose previous homer came May 31, wasn’t surprised No. 600 happened away from home. “Pretty much everybody knows my track record,” said Griffey, who hit his 400th and 500th home runs on the road, too. Among those in the dugout who greeted the slugger after his historic home run was Griffey’s 14-year-old son, Trey. “As a father, I’m more excited about what he does than what I do,” Griffey said. For people skeptical of that nonchalant attitude, Griffey explained he got it from his father, who played 19 seasons in the majors. Father and son were teammates in Seattle for two seasons. “He just told me as a kid, ‘Don’t get to high, don’t get too low — just be yourself,’” Griffey said. “I think that’s the one thing I take pride of.” Now, he also can take pride in having 448 more home runs than Ken Sr. Pirates 5, Diamondbacks 3 Pittsburgh took advantage of a rattled Randy Johnson and a reversed home run call to beat visiting Arizona. Johnson (4-3) limited the Pirates to six singles and struck out three in 52/3 innings but was hurt by three errors — including one by himself. Zach Duke (4-4) gave up two runs, including one Mark Reynolds homer and nearly another, in six-plus innings. Matt Capps pitched the ninth for his 15th save in as many chances. The Diamondbacks for the 10th time in 14 games. Giants 3, Nationals 2 For the second straight day, visiting San Francisco took advantage in the fifth innning against a starter making a one-game visit from Triple-A Columbus. Consecutive hits by Ray Durham, Randy Winn and Bengie Molina chased Tyler Clippard (0-1) in the Giants’ victory. Matt Cain (3-4) allowed one run and eight hits over 61/3 innings to get his first victory since May 13. San Francisco outscored Washington a combined 22-4 to complete its first four-game sweep of the franchise since 1994.