CINCINNATI — Ken Griffey Jr. was sick on Tuesday, keeping him out of the Cincinnati Reds' starting lineup on the night picked to honor his 600th home run.
Manager Dusty Baker said Griffey became ill on Monday, the team's day off, and wasn't feeling much better. The Reds commemorated his 600th homer before the opener of a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Griffey was on the field with his family while the team showed highlights of his career on the video board. Griffey turned his cap backward and addressed the crowd briefly.
”I just want to thank everybody for coming here,“ he said. ”Thank you.“
Fans received a poster and baseball card showing his swing on No. 600.
Griffey hit the noteworthy homer last week in Florida, becoming the sixth to reach the mark.
The ceremonies delayed the start of the game by seven minutes.
Griffey pinch-hit in the ninth and struck out.
The Reds lost in his absence.
Right-hander Chad Billingsley took a shutout into the seventh inning, and the Dodgers held on for a 3-1 victory over the Reds.
Billingsley was a bright spot on an otherwise ominous day for the Dodgers' rotation. Brad Penny went on the 15-day disabled list with a sore shoulder, and Hiroki Kuroda was sent back to Los Angeles for tests on his sore shoulder.
With their offense barely scoring, the Dodgers needed a stingy performance from Billingsley, who has twice shut down the Reds this season. He hadn't won since he pitched seven shutout innings in a 4-1 win over the Reds on May 20 at Dodger Stadium.
”That was big,“ Manager Joe Torre said. ”Somebody's going to have to pick us up. Before I came on here, I heard a lot of good things about Billingsley. You can see leadership, take-charge qualities about him.“
Juan Pierre and Russell Martin had run-scoring doubles off Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto (5-7), who regained his control but couldn't get the Reds out of their rut. Cincinnati has lost 10 of its last 15 games, leaving the Reds marooned in last place in the NL Central.
The 22-year-old rookie was coming off his wildest start. Cueto walked eight in only five innings of a 10-3 loss to St. Louis on Wednesday, the most walks allowed by a Reds pitcher in nine years. He gave up three walks in seven innings on Tuesday, and one of them led to a run.
”He gave us exactly what we wanted to see,“ Manager Dusty Baker said. ”We just couldn't get any runs. Billingsley has shut us down both times he's faced us.“
Angel Berroa walked with one out in the third and scored on Pierre's double to left. Jeff Kent singled and scored on Martin's double in the fourth. Kent also doubled home a run in the eighth with his third hit of the game.
These days, three runs qualify as an outburst for the Dodgers.
Los Angeles had been shut out twice and limited to one run another time during the five-game losing streak, which matched the Dodgers' season high.
Notes: LH Eric Stults was called up from Triple-A to replace Penny. He will start Thursday's game. ... 1B James Loney grounded into his 15th double play, most in the NL. Reds rookie outfielder Jay Bruce failed to get a hit in four at-bats, extending his slump to 0-for-15 and dropping his average to .325.