Ken Griffey Jr. moved up on the career home runs list with another of his familiar sweet swings, swatting Reggie Jackson out of the top 10.
“To pass him, sometimes it’s mindboggling because I didn’t think when I started playing this game 19 years ago that I’d be anywhere close to where I am now,” Griffey said.
Griffey moved into sole possession of 10th place with his first homer of the season, and 564th of his career, helping the Reds to a 10-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night. Jackson made a congratulatory telephone call last fall when Griffey tied him, and Griffey expected another call soon.
“Not yet, but somehow he’ll find out,” Griffey said. “I just don’t hit them as long as he did. I don’t get the ooh, aah, ooh shots.”
Randy Johnson’s presence on the mound is still an imposing sight, but the Big Unit was outpitched in his season debut by fellow 43-year-old counterpart David Wells in San Diego’s 10-5 victory. It was the oldest matchup of left-handers in major league history.
“I thought everything went pretty well,” said Johnson, who struck out seven. “It’s not the way I would have written things up.”
Six months after back surgery, Johnson (0-1) gave up six runs and six hits in five innings against San Diego, his first start for the Diamondbacks since 2004. The Big Unit allowed two home runs and two doubles. He walked four – two intentionally – hit two batters and threw just 53 of 97 pitches for strikes.
Johnson said there was “absolutely no comparison” to how he felt at the end of last season with the New York Yankees.
“I don’t want to hash out last year,” Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to this year. The bottom line is, I’m looking for results. Spring training’s over for me.”
In other NL games, it was: Pittsburgh 3, Houston 0; New York 2, Colorado 1 in 12 innings; Philadelphia 6, Washington 3; Atlanta 11, Florida 6; Milwaukee 4, Chicago 1; and San Francisco 5, Los Angeles 3.
At St. Louis, Griffey entered with no homers and seven RBIs in 51 at-bats, and was limited to one pinch-hit appearance the last four games due to diverticulitis, an inflammation of the colon. He grounded out and walked his first two at-bats before hitting a two-run shot in the fifth and passing Jackson.
“Reggie will be fine,” said Reds manager Jerry Narron, Jackson’s teammate when he hit his 500th homer. “Reggie was one of the best power hitters ever.”
Alex Gonzalez tied career highs with two homers, four hits and five RBIs, and Aaron Harang (3-0) worked into the eighth for the Reds.
Kip Wells (1-4) got knocked out in the fifth for St. Louis, which fell to 1-7 at home.
Padres 10, Diamondbacks 5
At Phoenix, Wells (1-1) gave up five runs in five innings as he and Johnson broke the previous mark for oldest duo of lefty starting pitchers, set April 12 when 44-year-old Jamie Moyer of Philadelphia opposed 41-year-old Tom Glavine of the New York Mets.
“He’s gotten the better of me quite a bit,” Wells said. “It’s nice to put him through the ringer instead of me.”
Khalil Greene matched his career high with four hits and had four RBIs as the Padres won for the fourth time in five games. Adrian Gonzalez went 3-for-3 with a homer and a double and three RBIs.
Pirates 3, Astros 0
Paul Maholm allowed three singles in his first career complete game and Pittsburgh avoided its longest home losing streak to start a season in 109 years.
Jason Bay had two run-scoring hits for the Pirates, who haven’t lost their first five home games since 1898, the 12th season of their existence.
Woody Williams (0-3) gave up nine hits over seven innings.
Mets 2, Rockies 1, 12 innings
Pinch-hitter Damion Easley hit a tying homer for New York with two outs in the 10th and Endy Chavez drove in the winning run with a bunt single off Ryan Speier (0-1) in the 12th.
Slumping rookie Troy Tulowitzki of the visiting Rockies broke up a scoreless game with a two-out RBI triple in the 10th off Billy Wagner.
Joe Smith (1-0) got two outs for his first major league win.
Phillies 6, Nationals 3
At Philadelphia, Wes Helms drove in the go-ahead run with a single in a three-run eighth to lead the Phillies to their fourth straight win.
Antonio Alfonseca (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Tom Gordon worked the ninth for his fourth save.
Micah Bowie (0-1) took the loss.
Braves 11, Marlins 6
Four Atlanta relievers combined to pitch six shutout innings, and the visiting Braves scored all of their runs with two outs.
Peter Moylan (1-0) pitched three scoreless innings for his first major league win. Brian McCann put Atlanta ahead 7-6 in the sixth with a sacrifice fly off Matt Lindstrom (0-1).
Florida’s Cody Ross doubled and homered to drive in five runs.
Brewers 4, Cubs 1
Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder homered for the second straight game, sending Chicago to 3-9 at Wrigley Field.
Fielder ended a 19-inning scoreless streak for Rich Hill (3-1) with a two-run drive in the fourth. Kevin Mench added a solo homer in the sixth, and Jeff Suppan (3-2) allowed eight hits and one walk in eight scoreless innings.
Last-place Chicago (7-13), in its first season under manager Lou Piniella, has lost three straight.
Giants 5, Dodgers 3
At Los Angeles, Matt Morris (3-0) took a three-hitter into the eighth inning and light-hitting Dave Roberts homered for San Francisco in its sixth straight victory. The Giants snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Dodgers.
Barry Bonds, who homered in five of his previous seven games, went hitless in two at-bats and walked twice against Derek Lowe (2-3).