Bruce keeps having a blast

CINCINNATI --- Jay Bruce insists that his first career homer won't overshadow Ken Griffey Jr.'s 599th.


Oh, really?

Griffey moved within one homer of a seldom-reached mark on Saturday, but the rookie who's just getting started was the center of attention in the cluster of disbelieving Cincinnati Reds at home plate.

Bruce extended his amazing weeklong debut with his first homer Saturday, a solo shot in the 10th inning that gave the Cincinnati Reds an 8-7 victory over the stunned and frustrated Atlanta Braves.

The first time the 21-year-old rookie went deep, it ended a game that started with Griffey's 599th homer.

"You can't steal the show from him," Bruce said.

That's exactly what he did.

Bruce's homer off Manny Acosta (3-2) dealt another crushing road defeat to the Braves, who couldn't hold a one-run lead in the ninth and couldn't stop Bruce an inning later.

The Reds' top prospect is 11-for-19 in his first five games in the majors, providing one big hit after another. He has a pair of three-hit games and a four-hit game.

"It's come to the point where we've got to start winning these close games," catcher Brian McCann said. "They're killing us."

Francisco Cordero (2-0) pitched the 10th, sending the Braves to an excruciatingly familiar finish. Atlanta has lost its past 20 one-run games on the road since August, matching the second-longest such streak in major league history.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kansas City lost 21 consecutive one-run games on the road from 2000-01. Pittsburgh dropped 20 in a row from 1985-86.

"It's cyclical," manager Bobby Cox said. "It will turn around. It always does."

The Braves built a 7-6 lead on homers by Greg Norton, Mark Teixeira and Jeff Francoeur, only to let it slip away in the ninth on a disputed call at home plate that let the Reds tie it up.



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