By John Erardi
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The Reds got everything they wanted Thursday, except what everybody in Cincinnati wanted:
The magical, mystical milestone eluded native son Ken Griffey Jr. for the third straight game, but the Reds won 4-3 and swept the Texas Rangers.
Appropriately, Griffey caught the last out of the game - Danny Graves' 27th save - on a towering fly to mid-center field, and pointed to the fans before trotting off.
"My way of saying thank you," Griffey explained. "Wherever I hit it, I'll be thinking of the fans back here and their response the last three days. ... I never experienced anything like it in my (professional) life."
He went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly Thursday afternoon before 40,383 fans at Great American Ball Park.
There was another huge walkup - 9,871 - a big number for a Business Day special, and it was the fifth sellout of the season.
Griffey's 0-for-3 felt like 0-for-4 Thursday if you felt that No. 500 was what this game was all about.
"It feels great to get back on track - that's the best thing about it," he said.
The Reds had lost seven straight games, all on the road, before coming home.
The Reds and Griffey's "500" entourage - which might show some signs of attrition, given the multi-city nature of the chase - now head for St. Louis and a three-game set beginning tonight.
A safe guess: No. 500 will happen in St. Louis.
Why? Because the historic chase now will be even further overshadowed because the Reds and Cardinals are neck and neck for first place in the National League Central Division.
Griffey's home runs tend to be big ones, just when the team needs them. They didn't need them the last three days.
"Hopefully, we can continue to play like we played the last three days," Griffey said.
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