Friday, August 03, 2001
Reds 7, Dodgers 4
Six homers provide sixth straight victory
By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LOS ANGELES If anything, Thursday night's sideshow blended nicely with the Reds' main event. They pounded a season-high six home runs one night after collecting a season-high 20 hits to establish another 2001 best with their sixth consecutive victory, a 7-4 decision.
Cincinnati (44-63) posted its first three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium since Sept. 12-14, 1986. Dmitri Young and Jason LaRue each homered twice, while Aaron Boone and Ken Griffey Jr. also homered.
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Bat boy greets Dmitri Young after first of his two homers.
Maybe they were just trying to show off in front of all the girls, Reds reliever Danny Graves said.
Oh, yes, the girls. The Reds' latest triumph unfolded before Hugh Hefner, master of the Playboy empire, and six of his blonde female employees. They conspicuously sat nine rows behind home plate, titillating fans while watching very little baseball themselves.
Said Graves, For the first couple of innings we watched about as much of the game as they did.
I'm not going to lie, said Boone, who blasted his second-inning home run just as Hefner and his companions made their grand entrance. My mind was elsewhere for a couple of innings.
Asked if he and his teammates noticed the special guests, Young said, It was kind of hard not to notice.
Hugh Hefner and his blonde friends were centers of attention.
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The Reds treated this distraction exactly as they've approached their profession for the last several days they enjoyed it. Fun was the word most frequently repeated in their clubhouse as they prepared to head for their next series beginning tonight at San Diego. The absence of upheaval before the non-waiver trading deadline, which passed Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern time, has helped calm the Reds.
I think we're having fun, said Graves, among the Reds rumored to be headed elsewhere. You can tell in the clubhouse before the game and even in the dugout during the game. Guys are more confident and having a good time. Since we're all still here, it kind of made a little bit of a difference.
Sweeping the Dodgers, who are clinging to first place in the National League West, also reinforced the Reds' attitude. Bound for vacations instead of the postseason in October, they've become intent on playing the spoiler role when they face contending teams.
Elmer Dessens had a shutout until the sixth.
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Hopefully at the end of the season they (the Dodgers) will look at these three games and say they cost them, LaRue said.
Reds starter Elmer Dessens (8-8) fell short of his six-hit shutout against Florida last Saturday but blanked the Dodgers until the sixth, when they scored four runs. Reliever Scott Sullivan contributed two scoreless innings before Graves pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save.
Dodgers starter Luke Prokopec (6-6) endured a miserable evening, yielding four of Cincinnati's homers while lasting four innings. A blister underneath the nail of Prokopec's right middle finger has bothered the rookie, who has suffered five defeats and six no-decisions in 11 straight winless starts. The long ball also has doomed Prokopec, who has coughed up 26 of them in just 114 2/3 innings.
Aaron Boone and Sean Casey celebrate a DP.
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After Boone and LaRue, the only starter who failed to contribute to the Reds' hit parade Wednesday, homered off Prokopec in the second, Griffey hiked the Reds' lead to 3-0 in the third with his 10th homer of the season and 448th of his career, an opposite-field shot to left. He needs to hit two more homers before Aug. 24 to become the youngest player to reach 450. That distinction is held by Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx (31 years, 276 days).
Young recorded the first two-homer game of his career while padding Cincinnati's lead to 6-0. He launched a two-run homer in the fourth off Prokopec and a one-out blast in the sixth off Giovanni Carrara.
The Dodgers retaliated in their half of the sixth while evicting Dessens.
Young is greeted by Ken Griffey Jr. after his second homer.
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Leadoff batter McKay Christensen broke a pair of pleasant Reds spells Dessens' 15-inning scoreless streak and the pitching staff's stretch of four consecutive games without allowing a homer by launching a 1-2 pitch into the right-field seats. Paul LoDuca's two-run single and Adrian Beltre's RBI double off Chris Nichting were the inning's other big hits.
LaRue relieved some of the pressure with second homer, a two-out, first-pitch clout off Mike Trombley.
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