By Kevin Kelly
Enquirer staff writer
The first time Ken Griffey Jr. spotted Darren Bragg, at Mariners spring training more than a decade ago, he had a case of mistaken identity. The gait. The compact frame.
The looks led Griffey to believe the Mariners had acquired Lenny Dykstra during the offseason.
"That's who they used to compare me to," Bragg said, "when I was young."
In a game that featured a commanding performance by Reds center fielder Wily Mo Pena, the 5-foot-9 Bragg also came up big against the Padres on Saturday at Great American Ball Park.
The 34-year-old right fielder had three hits, including a key home run, in an 11-5 Reds win before 37,161 fans.
Signed as a minor-league free agent last month and promoted from Triple-A Louisville on Thursday, Bragg's solo home run in a decisive six-run sixth inning was the game winner.
"It's a nice win for us. Everybody contributed," he said. "Hitting is contagious and we were able to put a lot of hits together in the sixth inning to blow the game open."
One night after combining to hit a stadium-record eight home runs, the Reds and Padres sent five more over the fences.
Bragg's sixth-inning home run followed the first of two home runs by Pena, who also wowed the crowd with a stunning catch in the second inning.
"He had a heck of a night for us," Reds manager Dave Miley said of Pena. "He had two big home runs for us, but everybody pitched in."
With two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning, Pena sent a 1-and-0 pitch from Padres starter Brian Lawrence 410 feet over the left center-field wall to tie the game at five.
Pena's show of power wasn't done.
After left fielder Adam Dunn hit his 36th home run of the season to lead off the seventh against Padres relief pitcher Rod Beck, Pena followed with a 473-foot blast to left center that made it 10-5.
"He threw me a fastball over the plate," Pena said. "I hit it, but I didn't hit it like (Adam Dunn's 535 foot home run on Tuesday)."
Pena also provided the defensive play of the game in the second inning. He crashed into the center field fence to snag a deep fly ball by Padres shortstop Khalil Greene.
"I feel sorry for the wall," Bragg said. "That's a big boy."
The 11 runs negated a so-so start for pitcher Jose Acevedo.
The right-hander came out of the bullpen, where he was sent for two relief appearances, to make his first start in 10 days.
The Reds' offensive parties in the sixth and seventh innings assured Acevedo of his first win since June 25. Acevedo allowed five runs on eight hits, struck out one and left trailing 5-2.
Two Reds pitchers - Phil Norton and Ryan Wagner finished the game with three scoreless innings of relief work.
"There were some positive things (from Acevedo) and still one or two things he needs to continue to work on," Miley said. "Five runs in six innings gave us a chance."
|Vander Wal ph||1||0||0||0||0||1||.167|
E-KGreene (17), Nevin (9), FLopez (8). LOB-San Diego 8, Cincinnati 6. 2B-Nevin (25), Klesko (23), FLopez (9), DJimenez (18), Bragg (1). HR-Dunn (36), off Beck; Bragg (1), off Lawrence; WPena 2 (21), off Beck, Lawrence; Ojeda (6), off JoAcevedo. RBIs-Nevin 3 (67), Klesko (46), Ojeda (22), DJimenez 3 (44), Dunn (75), WPena 4 (56), Bragg (1), Valentin (16). S-JCastro. GIDP-Lawrence, Dunn.
Runners left in scoring position-San Diego 4 (KGreene 2, Long 2); Cincinnati 3 (Casey, WPena, JoAcevedo).
Runners moved up-BGiles.
DP-San Diego 1 (Lawrence, KGreene and Nevin); Cincinnati 1 (JCastro, DJimenez and Casey).
|Lawrence L, 11-10||5||10||6||6||0||4||70||4.03|
|JoAcevedo W, 5-10||6||8||5||5||2||1||104||6.36|
|PNorton H, 7||1 2/3||1||0||0||1||1||27||4.35|
Lawrence pitched to 4 batters in the 6th.
Inherited runners-scored-RWagner 2-0.
HBP-by JoAcevedo (KGreene).
Umpires-Home, Wally Bell; First, Laz Diaz; Second, Bill Welke; Third, John Hirschbeck.
T-2:53. A-37,161 (42,271).
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