Griffey was 1-for-4 with a double to left-center field off Phillies starter Cole Hamels in the third inning, leaving the 38-year-old stuck at 599 career home runs. Griffey did rip a Hamels fastball deep to center field to lead off the ninth inning, but Shane Victorino tracked it down and crashed into the fence to end the drama.
The 16th sellout crowd of the season gave Griffey a huge ovation as he slowly jogged off the field.
"The people here really root for their team and it shows," said Griffey, who started after missing the past three games of the series with a sore left knee. "They want the Phillies to win, but they also know how important history is. People came to see history. That's one of the reasons they showed their support for the last two days. I'm probably a little sorer than normal today. It was all about giving back a little bit."
In the third, shortstop Paul Janish dropped a popup hit by Jimmy Rollins, allowing Carlos Ruiz to come racing home with an unearned run. Then in the fifth, Griffey mishandled a liner hit by Eric Bruntlett and Ruiz scored again for a 2-0 advantage.
Right-hander Homer Bailey, who was added to the roster before the game, pitched well in his first start this season, allowing four hits and five runs (two earned) in 6 1/3 innings.
"It was a pretty good outing," manager Dusty Baker said. "He threw strikes. His pitch count [89 pitches] was down. We gave them the first three runs."
With the exception of a solo homer by Geoff Jenkins, Bailey was formidable in his first start for the Reds since Sept. 30, 2007.
"I kept going out there and trying to throw strikes," Bailey said. "I made one bad pitch, which probably hasn't landed yet. It's just the way it went."
The Reds seemed to struggle with the lights in the ballpark, even in an afternoon game, which may have led to a couple of the miscues.
"I don't care if it's daylight or not, these lights are bright," Bailey said. "I kept seeing little green dots out of the corner of my eye."
Cincinnati was held to three hits and fell to 10-22 on the road. It dropped three of four at Philadelphia and has lost 15 of its past 19 road games.
Now the Reds are headed to Florida for a four-game series against the upstart Marlins.
"All three of these games we lost ... were all winnable," Baker said. "We played very good baseball, outside of today. The errors really hurt us today."