Monday, July 19, 2004

Reds lose three of four to Cards

Acevedo: No outing to dye for; New look, old results

By Kevin Kelly
Enquirer staff writer

When he returned from the All-Star break, Jose Acevedo sported a new-look hairdo.

The Reds pitcher's dark brown hair had been dyed a traffic light shade of yellow.

photo gallery
Photos of Sunday's game
The cosmetic change, based on what took place Sunday at Great American Ball Park, did little to change his mound luck.

The Cardinals scored six runs off Acevedo in just 2 1/3 innings, providing the foundation for a 10-4 win over the Reds before 31,699 fans.

"He made some mistakes and missed his spots sometimes," Reds catcher Jason LaRue said. "He was throwing some close pitches and they weren't swinging."

The brief outing by Acevedo continued a dismal stretch for the hard-throwing 26-year-old.

He is 1-5 with a 7.94 ERA and has allowed 61 hits (including 11 home runs) in his past nine starts. In three of those, Acevedo has failed to pitch past the third inning.

"In a nutshell, when he keeps the ball down his stuff is as good as anybody's," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "He's just got to be consistent."

The Reds as a whole are battling their own consistency problems.

They have lost eight of 10 games against the Cardinals this season - six of seven since July 5 - and again trail the National League Central leaders by 9 1/2 games.

The Giants hold a 2 1/2-game advantage over the Reds in the wild-card standings.

"We can't change our focus," LaRue said. "The focus is to win as many games as we possibly can.

"We can try to catch up to the Cardinals or catch up to the wild card. We just have to stay focused, go out and play fundamentally sound baseball. We can't afford to make mistakes."

St. Louis scored one run off Acevedo in the second, then took a 6-2 lead with a five-run third inning.

Shortstop Edgar Renteria led off the inning with a home run.

First baseman Albert Pujols worked the count to 2-and-2, and took ball three on the corner.

"From my standpoint in the dugout," Miley said, "it looked like (Acevedo) let that pitch affect him."

Acevedo walked Pujols and allowed the next three batters to reach base. A sacrifice fly stopped the run, during which two runs scored, but was followed by a two-run double from Cardinals catcher Mike Matheny that made it 6-2.

"You've got to forget that (pitch) and get the next guy out," Miley said. "It kind of just escalated a little bit for him."

Half of the Reds' offense Sunday came from right fielder John Vander Wal, who has come back after offseason knee surgery.

Making his first start in a Cincinnati uniform, Vander Wal hit a two-run home run off Jeff Suppan in the second inning. The hit put the Reds ahead 2-1.

"I think it was just a big moment getting back on the field," said Vander Wal, who finished 1-for-2. "It was nice for me to do something in my first start. But the big picture is that we didn't win."

The Reds' 24-game stretch against Central opponents continues with a two-game series against Milwaukee and a five-game road trip to Chicago and Pittsburgh.

"We've got a crucial week coming up," Vander Wal said. "We've got to get back in this thing."

MAnderson 2b500001.248
Renteria ss422110.290
Pujols 1b432010.314
Rolen 3b512200.333
Edmonds cf422212.286
RSanders rf421111.257
Mabry lf302100.283
Kline p000000---
Calero p000000.000
King p000000---
Lankford ph100000.265
Eldred p000000.000
Matheny c402300.264
Suppan p200001.000
Taguchi lf100001.258
Freel 3b401000.279
Larkin ss300001.296
PNorton p000000---
Valentin ph100000.182
Riedling p000000.000
Casey 1b411000.341
Dunn lf221020.264
DJimenez 2b402100.269
WPena cf-rf401101.289
Vander Wal rf211200.500
Romano ph-cf200001.056
LaRue c401002.229
JoAcevedo p000000.065
Van Poppel p100000.125
Hummel ph100000.239
RWagner p000000---
JCastro ss101000.277
St. Louis015012001-10130

LOB-St. Louis 6, Cincinnati 4. 2B-Rolen (20), Edmonds 2 (26), Mabry (5), Matheny (14), Casey (27), Dunn (17). HR-RSanders (15), off Van Poppel; Renteria (7), off JoAcevedo; Vander Wal (1), off Suppan. RBIs-Renteria (41), Rolen 2 (84), Edmonds 2 (59), RSanders (46), Mabry (21), Matheny 3 (29), DJimenez (29), WPena (34), Vander Wal 2 (2). SB-Dunn (4). S-Suppan. SF-Mabry. GIDP-WPena, Hummel. DP-St. Louis 2 (Rolen, MAnderson and Pujols), (Pujols, Renteria and Pujols).

Suppan W, 9-5674412963.48

L, 4-8

2 1/376631515.77
Van Poppel2 2/311103355.62
Suppan pitched to 3 batters in the 7th. IBB-off JoAcevedo (RSanders) 1. T-3:00. A-31,699 (42,271).

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