indians 8, reds 6
CINCINNATI — Travis Hafner has won many games with home runs. Saturday night he showed he can do it playing small ball, too.
The Cleveland slugger drove in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded groundout in the 11th inning and the Indians came from behind to overcome Ken Griffey Jr.’s 578th career home run and beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-6 in 11 innings.
“I felt like I hit three balls well, and the only ones that did anything were two weak grounders,” Hafner said.
“He hit it in the right spot,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said.
Grady Sizemore homered and had three hits and David Dellucci hit a two-run home run in the eighth to erase a 6-4 deficit before Hafner and Victor Martinez drove in runs in the 11th off Victor Santos (1-2).
“I thought we were going to be playing until (today’s) game,” Dellucci said. “It just kept going on and on and on.”
Tom Mastny (4-2) pitched a scoreless 10th inning for the win. Joe Borowski pitched the 11th for his 18th save in 20 opportunities.
The Indians loaded the bases against Santos on a Josh Barfield single, a sacrifice, a walk and a hit batsman. Hafner followed with his second run-scoring fielder’s choice of the game, scoring Barfield. Martinez followed with a run-scoring single to center.
Griffey homered for the third consecutive game. His seventh-inning homer off left-hander Ramon Perez was his 15th of the season, tying him with Adam Dunn for the team lead. The homer into the right-field seats, which gave the Reds a 6-4 lead, made Perez the 368th different pitcher to give up a home run to Griffey. He needs five to tie Mark McGwire for seventh place in career home runs.
Sizemore led off the game with his 11th homer of the season, but Jeff Conine answered in the bottom of the inning with a two-run shot, his fourth of the season and second in two nights.
Josh Hamilton led off the second inning with a homer to center field, his ninth homer of the season and first in 43 at-bats since May 6, to give the Reds a 3-1 lead. He’d missed 13 games while on the disabled list with gastroenteritis.
Jhonny Peralta led off the fourth with an opposite-field homer to right, his 12th of the season, to cut the Reds’ lead to 4-3.
Dellucci’s two-run opposite-field homer into the left-field seats off Gary Majewski tied the game.
“I’ve had better days,” Majewski said. “It was a sinker up. It didn’t do a whole lot. He stayed on it and hit it out.”
The Reds reached Jeremy Sowers, a former Cincinnati No. 1 draft pick, for five runs before he left with two runners on and nobody out in the fifth. Sowers (1-7), who chose to attend Vanderbilt instead of signing with the Reds after they made him the 20th overall selection in the 2000 draft, allowed seven hits and a walk. He tied his career high with five strikeouts.
Cincinnati starter Matt Belisle scattered five hits over six innings. He allowed three runs and three walks with five strikeouts.
Cleveland right fielder Franklin Gutierrez sent the game to the 11th inning by catching Alex Gonzalez’s potential game-winning drive a step in front of the wall with two on and two out in the 10th. His play kept the Reds hitless after Griffey’s home run.
“I thought Alex had the game won there,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “That guy made a great catch. We just didn’t string any hits together.”
“I didn’t think he was going to make that catch,” Wedge said. “That’s as good a catch as you’ll see with the game on the line.”
Griffey’s third-inning double was the 1,071st extra-base hit of his career, tying him with Hall of Famer Mel Ott for 19th on the career extra-base hit list.
… Sizemore’s homer was his fourth to lead off a game this season and the 11th of his career.
… Peralta is tied with Martinez for the team lead in homers.
… Sowers walked and hit an infield single in his first two career plate appearances.
… Casey Blake singled in the seventh to extend his career-high hitting streak to 18 games, the longest for Cleveland since Omar Vizquel’s 18-game streak in 2002.
WHO: Cleveland at Cincinnati
TIME: 1:15 p.m.
WHERE: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
PITCHERS: Sabathia (9-1, 3.40) vs. Harang (6-2, 4.24)
TV/RADIO: STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM