Friday, May 14, 2004

Defensive decisions doom Reds

Cincinnati's season record drops to .500 with 8-2 defeat

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

San Diego's Brian Giles (bottom) slides into home plate past Cincinnati catcher Javier Valentin in the fourth inning Thursday.
The Associated Press
SAN DIEGO - The Reds made one error Thursday night - and that came after the game was pretty much decided.

But defense, or lack thereof, played a major role in their 8-2 loss to the San Diego Padres before a crowd of 32,491 at PETCO Park.

All seven runs scored against starter Jose Acevedo were earned, but one bad throw by shortstop Barry Larkin and two bad choices by second baseman D'Angelo Jimenez were partially responsible for six of the seven runs.

Acevedo, who was pitching with two extra days of rest because of a blister on his middle finger, allowed only five hits in five innings.

The loss gave the Padres the series, two games to one. The Reds have lost four of their last five series, and overall are back to .500 at 17-17 and in fifth place in the National League Central, a half game behind St. Louis.

All of the trouble started in Milwaukee on April 26 with a 9-8 loss to the Brewers - the Brandon Larson two-outs-in-the-ninth-error game. Since then the Reds are 5-10.

The Reds had San Diego starter Jake Peavy in trouble in the first inning Thursday. Ryan Freel led off with a single. Larkin bunted into a fielder's choice, but Sean Casey got Larkin home with a double into the right-field corner. Ken Griffey Jr. walked, and an out later Jimenez walked to load the bases. That brought up Javier Valentin, who was 0-for-15 with runners in the scoring position.

Valentin gave it a good ride the opposite way, but left fielder Ryan Klesko ran down the ball on the warning track.

The Padres answered in their half of the first. Brian Giles doubled with two outs, and Phil Nevin followed with a double to score him.

The Reds regained the lead in the second. Tim Hummel led off with a single and Acevedo sacrificed him to second. After Freel failed in trying to bunt for a base hit, Larkin grounded one through the middle to score Hummel.

The Padres took the lead for good in the fourth, thanks to some shaky defense. Giles led off with a walk and went all the way to third on Nevin's little roller that Acevedo fielded halfway between the plate and the mound.

The Reds brought the infield in with Klesko at the plate, and he cooperated by hitting a ground ball to Larkin at short. Giles was running on the play and would have been an easy out, but Larkin's throw was a floater Valentin had to leap to get. Giles slid in with tying run.

After Acevedo struck out Jay Payton - that would have been the third out - Ramon Hernandez doubled to the wall in left-center to score Klesko.

Peavy, who threw 38 pitches in the first inning, had settled down by then. He worked 1-2-3 innings in the fourth and fifth.

Poor defensive decisions by the Reds contributed to the Padres' four-run fifth. Sean Burroughs led off with a double, and Mark Loretta followed with a ground ball to Jimenez at second. He threw to third to try to get Burroughs, but had hesitated slightly before the throw and Burroughs easily beat it.

Burroughs scored on Giles' groundout to Casey.

After Nevin walked, Klesko doubled in a run. The Reds then walked Payton intentionally.

Hernandez hit a ground ball to Jimenez, and Payton stopped. That seemed to throw off Jimenez, who threw to first to get the force. Payton got in a rundown, and Klesko just kept running. When Casey saw this, he threw home, but Klesko beat the throw to make it 7-2.

Freel rf501003.255
Larkin ss512102.296
Casey 1b503100.374
Griffey Jr. cf400011.237
Dunn lf401010.294
DJimenez 2b301010.200
Valentin c401000.182
Hummel 3b311010.333
JoAcevedo p100001.167
WPena ph100001.190
MMatthews p000000---
RWagner p000000---
Romano ph100000.067
PNorton p000000---
Burroughs 3b511000.328
Loretta 2b521001.317
BGiles rf321120.264
Nevin 1b311110.265
Klesko lf421200.265
Witasick p000000.000
Puffer p000000---
Payton cf300012.274
RaHernandez c401200.226
Greene ss200021.278
Peavy p300002.167
Robinson lf100001.333
San Diego10024100x-860

E-RWagner (1). LOB-Cincinnati 12, San Diego 7. 2B-Casey (15), Burroughs (7), BGiles (5), Nevin (8), Klesko (7), RaHernandez (3). RBIs-Larkin (11), Casey (25), BGiles (21), Nevin (16), Klesko 2 (16), RaHernandez 2 (17). S-JoAcevedo.

JoAcevedo L, 2-3557755985.53
RWagner1 2/300002197.30
Peavy W, 3-26622451142.08

Inherited runners-scored-RWagner 2-1.

IBB-off JoAcevedo (Payton) 1, off JoAcevedo (Greene) 2, off Peavy (Hummel) 1. PB-RaHernandez.

Umpires-Home, Hunter Wendelstedt; First, Tim Timmons; Second, Bruce Froemming; Third, Mike Winters.

T-2:37. A-32,491 (42,445).

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