Reds fall to Tigers in extra innings

Grand slam not enough, Reds fall to Tigers

DETROIT -- Ken Griffey Jr.'s important seventh-inning grand slam against Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya has almost given him a homer off pitchers with last names from A to Z. All he's missing now are the 'U' and 'X.'

It should have been enough to get Cincinnati a 'W.'

Alas, it wasn't.

Another blown save by David Weathers in the ninth eventually led to Felipe Lopez's throwing error in the 10th inning of a tough, 7-6, loss to the Tigers.

Weathers had a 6-5 lead heading into the ninth and needed one out to secure the save. But Curtis Granderson lifted a 2-1 outside fastball to the opposite field. The ball continued to carry and landed over the left-field fence for a game-tying homer.

It was Weather's fourth blown save in 13 opportunities, but his third straight since May 10. The right-hander thought he had a good plan with Granderson.

"He tries to spray the ball over there," Weathers said. "So you try to elevate it a little bit and get a fly ball to left field. He hit it good. I can't say it was a mistake. The mistake was getting behind, 2-1."

Remaining in the game for the bottom of the 10th, Weathers (1-2) hit Carlos Guillen in the foot with a one-out pitch. After Guillen stole second base, Dmitri Young reached on a fielder's choice play to that put runners on first and third with two outs.

The game slipped away when Lopez had trouble with Craig Monroe's ground ball. Lopez, a 2005 All-Star, had trouble getting the ball out of his glove before his throw hit the ground and skipped past first baseman Rich Aurilia.

Guillen easily scored and sent the 43,128 at Comerica Park into euphoria.

"It got tangled," Lopez said. "I was in an awkward position trying to get rid of it. It was a tough play."

Overshadowed in the loss was Griffey's huge grand slam. The Reds entered the seventh trailing Mike Maroth, who exited after five innings, by a 5-1 score. Adam Dunn slugged a leadoff home run before reliever Zumaya loaded the bases with two outs.

Offered a 100-mph fastball from Zumaya with a 1-1 count, Griffey tattooed the ball for the go-ahead run as fans let out a collective groan. It traveled 423 feet into the right-field seats for the 15th grand slam of the future Hall of Famer's career.

It was also Griffey's first-ever homer at Comerica Park, which gave him home runs at 42 Major League ballparks and tied him for second all-time with Sammy Sosa. Fred McGriff owns record with homers in 43 stadiums. All Griffey is missing is a long ball at the new Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Zumaya also became the 344th pitcher that Griffey has homered against and the first one whose last name began with a 'Z.'

With starter Eric Milton out after five innings of rusty pitching in his first game back from the disabled list, the Reds' bullpen was entrusted with the heavy lifting. Two struggling relievers, Rick White and Chris Hammond, nicely combined for scoreless sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

Overused setup man Todd Coffey, and his 0.70 ERA, never appeared in the game, however. Many Reds fans are wondering why Coffey and Weathers haven't switched roles. Reds manager Jerry Narron has maintained he likes Coffey usually in the seventh and eighth innings.

"He's made some good pitches," Narron said of Weathers. "There have been a couple of times we didn't make plays behind him. Tonight, he made the one bad pitch to Granderson in the ninth."

Not just a bad pitch, but a very costly one. A win Saturday would have given the Reds the three-game series and guaranteed a 3-3 road trip at the worst.

"It irritates you more than anything," Weathers said. "Griff hit a big home run. You get two outs [in the ninth] and probably this is the best I've felt all year. You got a 2-1 count, you throw a fastball away and the guy hits it to the opposite field. It stinks."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.