By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer
If this were the 1976 World Series, the New York Yankees would be wondering what in the world they could do to beat the Reds.
Because in the first two games of the first interleague series between the two clubs, the 2003 Reds have overwhelmed the '03 Yankees every bit as much as 1976 Reds overwhelmed the '76 Yankees.
The Reds buried the Yankees with a four-home run barrage on the way to a 6-2 victory before a sellout crowd 42,082 at Great American Ball Park Wednesday night.
"It's great to take the first two from the Yankees," Sean Casey said. "We're feeding off the crowd, and they're feeding off what we do."
Aaron Boone, Casey, Ken Griffey Jr. and Jason LaRue hit the home runs. Paul Wilson pitched seven impressive innings. The bullpen threw blanks. And the defense was solid.
"That's one of better games we've played in a long time," Reds manager Bob Boone said. "That was a happy win."
Even the one possible damper on the night was not much of a damper. Griffey left the game after the home run. He hurt himself swinging and missing on the pitch before his home run in the fifth. He suffered a strained right bicep and is listed to day-to-day. He could play today.
"I'll come in early and work on it and go from there," Griffey said. "Doc did some testing and it felt better than when I first did it."
Wilson (3-4) allowed the two runs on seven hits to earn the win. That's significant. It was the first win by a Reds starter in 17 games, dating back to May 14.
Wilson has gone seven innings in each of his three starts. He's walked a total of five in his last five starts.
The victory, the Reds' fourth in five games, gets them back to .500 (29-29) for the first time May 23.
The Reds had to come back to win, just like they did Tuesday.
Jason Giambi gave the Yankees the lead for the second straight night, hitting a two-run home run in the third.
The ball that didn't fall for Giambi was just as significant. He hit a drive to the wall in left-center in the first that Adam Dunn caught over-the-shoulder style before banging into the wall.
"That was an unbelievable catch," LaRue said. "That gave everyone a boost of energy."
"Luck. I'm not a Gold Glover out there. That's not a routine play for me. It just happened."
It saved two runs that could have changed the game. Mike Mussina, who came in 7-2 with a 2.62 ERA, was dealing early.
Boone cut the lead in half with a two-out, solo home run in the fifth.
"Aaron hit a good pitch," Bob Boone said. "Mussina was walking through us until then."
The Reds took the lead in the sixth. Dunn's singled with two outs. It was the first hit from a Reds' leadoff hitter since Ryan Freel led off the game with a single in Atlanta five games ago.
Casey followed with his seventh home run of year - a line shot to right.
Griffey made it back-to-back by hitting an 0-2 pitch out to right-center for his seventh.
Griffey had hurt his bicep swinging through the pitch before.
"I was just trying not to strikeout," Griffey said.
"He was setting them up," Dunn said.
The Reds piled on a little more in the sixth.
Boone singled and LaRue followed with a shot that landed well up on the lawn in straightaway center for his sixth home run of the year. That made it 6-2.
Mussina hadn't allowed four home runs in a game since Aug. 23 of last year. He hadn't allowed more than four runs in a game this season.
Wilson was done after seven innings and 108 pitched. Gabe White (1 1/3 innings) and Scott Sullivan (2/3 of an inning) finished up.
The bullpen has not allowed a run in 11 2/3 innings.
"It was a good night for us," LaRue said. "Paul pitched a great game. We hit. We stole bases. We really played well defensively."
Sounds, just like the '76 Reds.
|Griffey Jr. cf||3||1||1||1||0||0||.286|
LOB-New York 6, Cincinnati 4. 2B-Matsui (17), Mondesi (15), LaRue (12). HR-LaRue (6), off Mussina; Griffey Jr. (7), off Mussina; Casey (7), off Mussina; ABoone (14), off Mussina; JaGiambi (13), off PWilson. RBIs-JaGiambi 2 (37), Casey 2 (28), Griffey Jr. (12), ABoone (36), LaRue 2 (17). SB-Dunn (4), Kearns (2), ABoone (8). GIDP-JRivera.
DP-Cincinnati 1 (ABoone, Olmedo and Casey).
|Mussina L, 7-4||5 1/3||8||6||6||1||7||84||3.09|
|PWilson W, 3-4||7||7||2||2||2||5||108||4.58|
IBB-off PWilson (JaGiambi) 1.
T-2:34. A-42,082 (42,263).
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