Friday, August 29, 2003

Reds swept to cellar

Brewers take 4-game series, share last place

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

You've got to like this bunch of Reds - they play hard, and they keeping fighting to the end.

But in the major leagues, it takes more than that to win.

The Reds found that out the last four days when the Milwaukee Brewers, a team that had 106 losses a year ago, swept four games at Great American Ball Park.

The Brewers completed their first-ever four-game sweep of the Reds with a 4-3 win in 10 innings Thursday, before a crowd 21,870.

Thursday's loss was a lot like Wednesday's, which was a lot Tuesday's, which was a lot like Monday's.

Cincinnati's season is definitely getting that Groundhog Day feel. It was the 18th time in 23 games that the Reds scored three runs or fewer.

Reds manager Dave Miley politely chose not to discuss the Reds' woeful offense Thursday.

"We've talked about that a lot lately," Miley said. "I'm not going to go down that road today."

A day after scoring two runs on 12 hits and leaving 12 runners on bases, the Reds scored three runs on eight hits and left 11 on base.

In both games they were one hit from breaking it open. They were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position Wednesday, and 1-for-11 Thursday.

The loss put the Reds in a tie with the Brewers for last place in the National League Central.

"Quite honestly, I've always been a guy who looks to catch up, not to be caught," Miley said. "It's been frustrating."

Miley has been given a team nearly impossible to win with. Fifteen of the 25 players on the roster started the season in the minor leagues. If not for trades and injuries, seven of them still would be in the minors.

"I don't feel like anybody has quit or given up," said Paul Wilson, who started Thursday and is one of the few veterans left on the Reds. "I think everybody is going out there and being professional, doing what they're supposed to be doing. It's disheartening, for sure. Everybody wants to win."

The team's inexperience shows up in tight situations.

"We're not getting key hits in big situations," outfielder Ryan Freel said. "I think we're making strides, and we'll be fine."

Thursday, Freel scored in the first inning to give the Reds a 1-0 lead for the fourth straight day.

The Brewers caught the Reds in the third with Geoff Jenkins' fourth home run in as many days. The Brewers took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on an unearned run.

Wilson, who pitched six innings and gave up one earned run, looked to be headed for a tough-luck loss. But the seventh went the Reds' way.

The Brewers nearly took the lead when Eddie Perez singled with Jenkins at second base. But a nice throw by center fielder Freel and a nice tag by catcher Jason LaRue got Jenkins, who fractured his thumb on the play and probably is done for the season.

The Reds got a break in the bottom of the seventh. Dernell Stenson led off with a single and scored when second baseman Keith Ginter failed to cover first on LaRue's sacrifice bunt and the ball went into right field.

That was good for the Reds, but they couldn't get LaRue in from third with no outs.

The Reds had scoring chances in the eighth and ninth innings, but the big hits eluded them.

In the 10th, Perez led off the inning for Milwaukee with a drive to left that Miley said Stenson should have caught.

"The ball is hard to pick up out there (during day games)," Stenson said. "I froze. I went after it, but it was by me."

Reliever Chris Reitsma got a groundout that advanced the runner, then gave up a home run on a 1-2 pitch to pinch hitter Bill Hall.

"It was a changeup," Reitsma said. "I was trying to strike him out with a runner at third and one out. I made a mistake pitch."

The Reds had a chance to win in the bottom of the 10th. D'Angelo Jimenez and Sean Casey each singled with one out. Pinch hitter Ray Olmedo grounded into a fielder's choice, and Juan Castro followed with a ball right at second baseman Hall. But he booted it, and Jimenez scored to make it 4-3.

Stenson walked to load the bases for the Reds but LaRue, mired in a 2-for-29 slump, bounced out to end it.

Podsednik cf602000.315
KGinter 2b510001.268
de los Santos p000000.000
MSmith ph100000.353
Kolb p000000---
Jenkins lf212120.296
BClark lf200001.298
Sexson 1b403011.263
Vander Wal rf403110.266
Helms 3b400001.253
EddPerez c502000.263
Cruz pr010000.081
Osik c000000.239
Clayton ss501000.223
Obermueller p200000.167
LVizcaino p000000---
Hall ph-2b211200.290
Freel cf512000.278
Hummel ss-3b501000.222
DJimenez 2b513100.298
Casey 1b401011.288
WPena pr000000.151
Branyan 3b300011.218
Reitsma p000000.125
Olmedo ph100000.265
Smitherman lf200010.364
RWagner p000000---
JCastro ph-ss200000.255
Stenson rf-lf411011.290
LaRue c300010.225
PWilson p200002.120
RMateo rf200001.250

E-KGinter (6), Hall (4), Casey (5), Branyan (2). LOB-Milwaukee 14, Cincinnati 11. 2B-Podsednik (21), EddPerez (11), Freel (2), DJimenez (8). HR-Hall (3), off Reitsma; Jenkins (28), off PWilson. RBIs-Jenkins (95), Vander Wal (44), Hall 2 (12), DJimenez (14). S-Obermueller, LaRue. GIDP-KGinter, Helms. DP-Milwaukee 1, Cincinnati 2.

LVizcaino BS, 510000186.97
de los Santos W, 3-3210022404.30
Kolb S, 13121010272.01
Reitsma L, 9-4242201283.96

Obermueller pitched to 1 batter in the 7th.

Inherited runners-scored-LVizcaino 1-1.

HBP-by PWilson (Helms). WP-Obermueller.

Umpires-Home, Matt Hollowell; First, John Hirschbeck; Second, Wally Bell; Third, Bill Welke.

T-3:11. A-21,870 (42,263).

How the runs scored:

Reds first. Freel doubled to right. Hummel grounded out, first baseman Sexson to pitcher Obermueller, Freel to third. Jimenez doubled to center, Freel scored. Casey walked on a full count. Branyan struck out. On Obermueller's wild pitch, Jimenez to third, Casey to second. Smitherman walked on a full count. Stenson flied out to left fielder Jenkins.

1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 3 left on. Reds 1, Brewers 0.

Brewers third. Podsednik singled to center. Ginter grounded into a double play, third baseman Branyan to second baseman Jimenez to first baseman Casey, Podsednik out. Jenkins homered to right on a 1-1 count. Sexson singled to center. Vander Wal grounded into fielder's choice, shortstop Hummel to second baseman Jimenez, Sexson out.

1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Brewers 1, Reds 1.

Brewers fifth. Podsednik grounded out, second baseman Jimenez to first baseman Casey. Ginter safe on Branyan's error. Jenkins singled to center, Ginter to second. Sexson singled to left, Ginter to third, Jenkins to second. Vander Wal singled to center, Ginter scored, Jenkins to third, Sexson to second. Helms fouled out to first baseman Casey. Perez grounded into fielder's choice, third baseman Branyan unassisted, Sexson out, Vander Wal to second.

1 run, 3 hits, 1 error, 3 left on. Brewers 2, Reds 1.

Reds seventh. Clark in as left fielder. Stenson singled to right. Vizcaino pitching. LaRue safe at third on a sacrifice plus second baseman Ginter's fielding error. Stenson scored. Mateo struck out. Freel flied out to right fielder Vander Wal. LaRue was out advancing, right fielder Vander Wal to catcher Perez, LaRue out.

1 run, 1 hit, 1 error, 0 left on. Brewers 2, Reds 2.

Brewers tenth. Perez doubled to left. Cruz pinch-running for Perez. Clayton grounded out, second baseman Jimenez to first baseman Casey, Cruz to third. Hall homered to left on a 1-2 count, Cruz scored. Podsednik grounded out, second baseman Jimenez to first baseman Casey. Smith pinch-hitting for de los Santos. Smith safe on Casey's error. Clark struck out.

2 runs, 2 hits, 1 error, 1 left on. Brewers 4, Reds 2.

Reds tenth. Kolb pitching. Osik in as catcher. Hummel grounded out, shortstop Clayton to first baseman Sexson. Jimenez singled to left. Casey singled to left, Jimenez to second. Pena pinch-running for Casey. Olmedo pinch-hitting for Reitsma. Olmedo grounded into fielder's choice, second baseman Hall to shortstop Clayton, Jimenez to third, Pena out. Castro safe on Hall's error, Jimenez scored, Olmedo to second. Stenson walked on a full count, Olmedo to third, Castro to second. LaRue grounded out, shortstop Clayton to first baseman Sexson.

1 run, 2 hits, 1 error, 3 left on. Brewers 4, Reds 3.

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