MIAMI — Oh, the fans got to see a big home run all right.
Though it wasn't the one they were hoping for, they seemed happy enough with the result.
Cody Ross hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to give the Florida Marlins an 8-7 win over the Cincinnati Reds and Ken Griffey Jr., who remained stuck on 599 home runs for one more night.
”When the fans are chanting your name, you want to come through for them,“ Ross said. ”That's just the quality of our team. We're going to go out there and we're not going to give up. Fortunately, tonight it paid off.“
Junior helped draw Dolphin Stadium's third-largest crowd this season and the 25,289 fans all were armed with giveaway cowbells. He went 1-for-3 with two walks, remaining homerless since May 31.
Ross's drive off Francisco Cordero (2-1) ended a comeback from 7-5 down. Luis Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly to score Jorge Cantu after Dan Uggla walked on four pitches.
It was the second go-ahead RBI for Ross in the game after his single in the seventh gave the Marlins a 5-4 lead.
”It could have been a devastating loss for our club,“ Gonzalez said. ”We had the lead, lost it, then took it back, then lost it again. It was a seesaw game but we got the win and we'll take it.“
Burke Badenhop (2-3) pitched 11⁄3 scoreless innings.
The Reds retook the lead by scoring three runs in the eighth. Adam Dunn hit a solo home run, and then with two outs, pinch hitter Javier Valentin struck out swinging but the ball bounced past catcher Matt Treanor.
Edwin Encarnacion pinch-ran for him, took third on a single by Paul Bako, and scored on Jerry Hairston's infield hit to make the score 6-5. Jay Bruce's single scored Bako to make it 7-5.
”Boy, that was just a tough game,“ Reds Manager Dusty Baker said. ”We battled hard. That was a playoff atmosphere.“
Andy Phillips hit a three-run double in the Reds' four-run sixth inning that tied the game at 4.
Marlins starter Scott Olsen allowed four runs, though none were earned, in six innings on four hits while striking out five.
Cantu hit a solo homer off Reds starter Bronson Arroyo in the fifth. It was his third home run in two games and 11th of the season.
”This is the way we play. We just stick in there and do the little things on offense and in the end we got away with it,“ Cantu said.
Arroyo lasted 42⁄3 innings, allowing four runs and seven hits. He struck out six.
”I got us off to a bad start and these guys fought back to get us back in the game,“ Arroyo said. ”It's just too bad to come up short, because a lot of guys in here contributed to a pretty good game.“
Note: Marlins RHP Ryan Tucker will have his contract selected prior to Sunday's game to make his major-league debut.