Griffey#039;s lead helps Reds pummel Pirates, 11-2

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2005

CINCINNATI (AP) - Ken Griffey Jr. did his part in giving starter Brandon Claussen a healthy lead to work with.

Griffey and Jason LaRue homered during the Cincinnati's six-run second inning Sunday, allowing Claussen and the Reds to cruise to an 11-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Reds also scored one in the first and two in the third to build a 9-0 advantage.

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''Any time you can make your starting pitcher comfortable, it's important,'' said Griffey, who drove in season-high five runs. ''Being up seven after two innings helps him out.''

LaRue went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored as the Reds matched their largest winning margin of the season and completed a 6-4 homestand. The Pirates have lost six of eight after splitting the four-game series.

''It's nice to come out and pound a team early,'' Claussen said. ''It takes a load off. You can just throw the ball and let them hit it.''

Claussen (2-3) went a career-high 7 2-3 innings to earn his first win in five starts. The left-hander allowed seven hits and two runs.

''He had outstanding command of all of his pitches,'' said manager Dave Miley, who heard boos when he went to the mound to remove Claussen.