Originally created 04/21/00

Griffey goes deep twice in Reds' win



CINCINNATI -- Ken Griffey Jr. threw his slump to the wind.

Griffey hit a pair of 400-foot homers into a swirling wind Thursday, leading the Reds to an 11-1 win over the reeling San Francisco Giants.

Barry Larkin also hit a two-run homer and Pokey Reese matched his career high with five hits as the Reds (8-7) moved above .500 for the first time this season.

They're a month ahead of last year, when they didn't have a winning record until May 19, then finished with 96 victories.

"Some of the pieces are starting to fall together," manager Jack McKeon said. "Last year it took us awhile to do it. This year maybe we can do it faster.

"I think it's a little different ballclub now. Griffey's starting to hit and (Sean) Casey's back in the lineup. That gives us a different look."

Griffey looked a lot better at the plate as he pulled out of a 2-for-17 slump. He hit the ball to center in all four at-bats, with two drives clearing the wall for two-run homers.

Griffey and Larkin, both former student at Moeller High School in Cincinnati, took turns hitting two-run homers to center, putting the Reds in control early.

Griffey dressed quickly after the game and had little to say about his homers or anything else. Asked if it's a good sign he's hitting balls hard to center, he said, "I don't know."

Larkin thinks it is.

"I don't think he's gotten to the point where he feels comfortable," Larkin said. "Hopefully that's happening. I've said some things to him, but it's more listening to what he has to say -- and he's got quite a few things to say. Plus, what do you tell a guy who hits 50 homers a year -- stay with 'em?"

It was Griffey's first multi-homer game with the Reds and the 41st of his career, giving him five homers this season. And it came one day too early, as far as San Francisco is concerned.

"You knew it was a matter of time with him," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "He was barely missing balls the whole series. We were hoping that he would wait to get hot until the Dodgers got here."

San Francisco has lost nine of 10 games in its worst start since 1983, also 4-11.

CUBS 10, EXPOS 6:

In Montreal, Sammy Sosa hit a grand slam and tied his career high with six RBI as Chicago beat the Expos, snapping its four-game losing streak.

Batting cleanup for only the third time this year, Sosa hit a two-run double in the fifth inning.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, he hit his fourth career slam against Miguel Batista. It was Sosa's fifth homer of the season.

This was the fourth time Sosa had six RBI in a game. He last did it on Sept. 16, 1998, the same day he hit his previous grand slam.

Brian Williams (1-0) pitched a perfect fifth for his first win.

Glenallen Hill had a pinch-hit, two-run double off Matt Blank (0-1) to ignite the Cubs' six-run rally in the sixth.

AROUND THE NL:

Diamondbacks closer Matt Mantei, on the disabled list since April 2 with biceps tendinitis, will be activated today. ... Curt Schilling, pitching under the watchful eye of Philadelphia general manager Ed Wade, threw eight solid innings for Class A Clearwater. Schilling gave up one run and four hits against the St. Petersburg Devil Rays in his fourth and final rehabilitation start in the Florida State League. The Phillies ace struck out four, walked one and threw 91 pitches, 61 for strikes.