CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Reds got a win out of Danny Graves' first
major league start.
Graves, second on Cincinnati's career saves list, combined with
four relievers on a six-hitter as the Reds beat the Pittsburgh
Pirates 3-0 Tuesday night. "That was one of our better games,'' Reds manager Bob Boone
said. Graves, Cincinnati's closer since 1999, had made 363 relief
appearances, the most by any pitcher making his first start since
Los Angeles' Terry Adams also compiled 363 relief appearances
before starting at Arizona on June 5 last year. Chuck McElroy, who played for the Reds from 1999 to 1996, set
the record by making 603 relief appearances before starting for
Baltimore against Oakland on Sept. 2, 2000. "It's a lot different mentally,'' Graves said. "You can make
mistakes and let a couple of guys get on, and you don't have to
worry about getting the double play. It was more relaxing. I wasn't
relaxed before the game, though. I had to take something to settle
my stomach. I don't like sitting around waiting.'' Graves, whose career high is four innings, threw 38 pitches, 25
for strikes, before rookie Wily Mo Pena pinch hit for him and got
an infield single in his first major league plate appearance. "Danny cruised through real easy,'' Boone said. "He wasn't
under a pressure situation. He was able to loosen up and hit his
spots.'' Graves allowed two hits and walked none in three innings but hit
two batters. "What everybody did after me was better than what I did,''
Graves said. Chris Reitsma (6-10) pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief of Graves.
Scott Sullivan, who hadn't pitched since last Wednesday, got a
popup and strikeout to strand the bases loaded in the seventh. "I thought Reitsma looked as good as I have seen him,''
Sullivan said. "I would have hated to mess anything up for him.'' After not earning a save since May 3, 2000, Scott Williamson got
his second in two nights. Cincinnati got its sixth shutout of the season and sent
Pittsburgh to its 14th shutout loss. The Pirates (63-82) are
ensured of a 10th straight losing season, a franchise record that
broke the mark set from 1949 through 1957. They are the 18th major league franchise to record at least 10
consecutive losing seasons, a group that includes the 1945 to 1955
Reds. "We're just trying to get better, one game at a time,''
Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. The crowd of 13,153 was Cincinnati's third-smallest of the
season. Russell Branyan hit a sixth-inning homer off Kip Wells (12-14),
his 11th since the Reds acquired him from Cleveland on June 7. The
drive cleared the 40-foot "batter's eye'' wall located 393 feet
away in center field, making him the fourth player and first Red to
clear the wall since it was built before the 2001 season. "I don't know what happened,'' said Branyan, who made his sixth
consecutive start at first base. "I was so tired of pulling off
the ball and fouling off outside pitches, and I was so focused on
trying to hit the ball the other way that I couldn't even tell you
what the pitch was.'' Jose Guillen and Aaron Boone added run-scoring hits in the
eighth. Wells allowed five hits in six innings. He has lost three
straight decisions for the second time this season. "If I could have one pitch back, it would be the pitch to
Branyan,'' Wells said. "I was trying to stay hard in, but I threw
him a hanging changeup, and he stayed on it.'' Cincinnati clinched its first home series win since a three-game
sweep of San Diego Aug. 9-11. Cincinnati was swept in two
three-game series and split two four-game sets since then.
Pittsburgh's Jason Kendall batted fifth for the first time
since last Sept. 22, the last of his 31 appearances in that slot
... Pirates 2B Pokey Reese, bothered by a bruised right knee he
sustained Sept. 4, did not play ... Pittsburgh pitching coach Spin
Williams was ejected by plate umpire Marvin Hudson in the eighth
inning. ... Pena became the first Reds player to get a hit in his
first major league at-bat since D.T. Cromer's pinch-single off
Milwaukee's Jimmy Haynes -- now with the Reds -- on April 5, 2000 ...
Reitsma's six strikeouts were a season high among Reds relievers
... Reds RF Jose Guillen left in the eighth because of a tight