Griffey's power crazy like Foxx

Reds slugger displaces Hall of Famer as fastest to 400 dingers

Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2000

DENVER -- Ken Griffey Jr. didn't spoil the Colorado Rockies' home opener.

Griffey became the youngest player to hit 400 career homers, but the Rockies beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-5 Monday behind two-run homers from Mike Lansing and Todd Helton.

Griffey's historic homer came on the 50th birthday of his father, Reds coach Ken Griffey Sr. It was the fourth time he has homered on his father's birthday.

''The biggest thing is, I tell my dad it's a cheap way of not buying him a gift on his birthday,'' Junior said. ''So he'll get this ball. My mom got 399, and he's got 400. But it's on his birthday, so it's a special moment for both of us, especially that I can do it in front of him.''

Griffey tied the game 1-1 in the fourth with an opposite-field homer off Arrojo. It was Griffey's second homer of the season and second in as many days.

At 30 years, 141 days, Griffey beat the previous mark, set by Jimmie Foxx, who was 30 years, 248 days old. Griffey is fifth on the career list among active players, trailing Mark McGwire (525), Barry Bonds (447), Jose Canseco (431) and Cal Ripken Jr. (403).

The new-look Rockies, with just 10 players remaining on the roster from last year's opener, got six strong innings from Rolando Arrojo (1-0), who became the first Rockies starter to win this season.

Arrojo left after deflecting a double-play grounder with his pitching hand, a play that ended the sixth. X-rays were negative, leaving him with a bruise on the middle finger of his right hand. He allowed two runs and six hits.

''It's fine,'' Arrojo said. ''I won't miss any work.''

Colorado returned to Coors Field following a shakeup that saw new GM Dan O'Dowd overhaul the Blake Street Bombers, who hit home runs but failed to make the postseason since 1995. The Rockies deemphasized home runs in favor of improved pitching, defense and speed.

''We wanted to come out and show this team has changed, and changed for the better,'' Helton said. ''Our starting pitching gives us a chance day in and day out.''

Monday's game also was the first Rockies game managed at Coors Field by Buddy Bell.

''I like it,'' Bell said. ''It seems like we were gone forever. Everybody is happy to be back home. We played well and got some timely hits, and Arrojo was very good.''

Colorado says it needs pitching to win, but the offense against the Reds didn't show any signs of letting up.

Second-inning doubles by Jeff Cirillo and Darren Bragg put the Rockies ahead 1-0 off Steve Parris (0-2).

Colorado chased Parris with a four-run fifth. Arrojo led off with a single and scored on Tom Goodwin's triple to right-center. Lansing followed with his third homer of the season, Larry Walker singled, Cirillo walked and Bragg hit an RBI single off Hector Mercado.

In the sixth, Cincinnati loaded the bases with no outs on singles by Alex Ochoa, Chris Stynes and Barry Larkin, with Griffey next to bat. Griffey hit a sacrifice fly, but Arrojo induced ex-Rockie Dante Bichette to hit into a double play.

Colorado loaded the bases with one out in its half in an inning that was interrupted for 13 minutes by a power outage. After the delay, Walker hit into a double play.

Cirillo hit his second double and scored on Helton's second homer of the season in the seventh off Scott Sullivan.

The Reds cut the lead to 7-5 in the ninth on David Cromer's first major league home run, a three-run shot off of David Lee. Stan Belinda got the final out for his first save.

''We had chances, but we let too many of them get away from us early,'' Reds manager Jack McKeon said. ''We always come back.''

Brewers 4, Marlins 3

MILWAUKEE -- Geoff Jenkins homered and Milwaukee's bullpen had another strong outing in County Stadium's second final opener.

A crowd of 53,509 braved game-time temperatures in the 40s and biting winds. Miller Park, rapidly approaching completion 100 feet behind the current field, will open in 2001, a year behind schedule following a crane accident last July 14 that killed three iron workers.

Jimmy Haynes (2-0) allowed three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in six innings, and Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his second save. Vladimir Nunez (0-1) gave up four runs and three hits in 4 2-3 innings.

Cubs 4, Braves 3

CHICAGO -- Shane Andrews hit a game-tying three-run homer off Kerry Ligtenberg (0-1) in the ninth inning of the Cubs' home opener and pinch-hitter Jeff Reed singled in Damon Buford with the game-winning run.

Mark Guthrie (1-1) got the victory in Don Baylor's debut as Cubs manager at Wrigley. Andres Galarraga hit his fourth homer of the season for Atlanta and Chipper Jones also connected.

Cardinals 8, Astros 7

HOUSTON -- Mark McGwire homered for the third straight game, raising his career total to 525 -- nine behind Jimmie Foxx for ninth on the career list. His first homer at Enron Field gave McGwire home runs in 35 major league ballparks, one behind the record held by Tampa Bay's Fred McGriff.

In Enron's fourth game, the teams combined for eight homers, two more than the previous record for major league games in Houston.

Edger Renteria, Ray Lankford and J.D. Drew homered for St. Louis, while Daryle Ward homered twice for Houston, and Craig Biggio and Richard Hidalgo also connected.

Pat Hengten (2-0) won, Dave Veres got his second save and Jose Lima (1-1) lost.

Diamondbacks 8, Padres 4

SAN DIEGO -- Erubiel Durazo hit two home runs, including a three-run shot, and Jay Bell, Steve Finley and Kelly Stinnett also connected to match the club record of five.

In the Padres' home opener, Todd Stottlemyre (2-0) was hit on the right knee by Ryan Klesko's line drive in the first but stayed in the game, holding the Padres to three runs and seven hits in six innings. Mike Morgan finished for his second save.

Woody Williams (1-1) allowed six runs and seven hits -- including four homers -- in 4 1-3 innings.

Phillies 9, Mets 7

PHILADELPHIA -- Mike Lieberthal broke a 7-all tie with a two-run homer off Rich Rodriguez (0-1) in the fifth as Philadelphia overcame a 4-0 deficit in its home opener. New York wasted a four-run lead for the second straight game.

Amaury Telemaco (1-0) pitched 1 2-3 hitless innings for the victory. Kirk Bullinger also retired all five batters he faced, and Wayne Gomes got four outs for his third save in three chances.

Subscribe to Peninsula Clarion

Trending this week:


© 2018. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us