Series: Game 2 of 3

Cincinnati leads 2-0 (as of 9/10)

Game 1: Monday, September 9
Pittsburgh 8Final
Cincinnati 9
Game 2: Tuesday, September 10
Pittsburgh 0Final
Cincinnati 3
Game 3: Wednesday, September 11
Pittsburgh 4Final
Cincinnati 1

Pirates 0

(63-82, 31-43 away)

Reds 3

(71-73, 36-37 home)

    7:10 PM ET, September 10, 2002

    Cinergy Field, Cincinnati, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    PIT 000000000 0 - -
    CIN 00001002 - 3 - -

    W: C. Reitsma (6-10)

    L: K. Wells (12-14)

    S: S. Williamson (2)

    Graves and Co. throw six-hit shutout

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Reds got a win out of Danny Graves' first major league start.

    Danny Graves

    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.

    Game notes

    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 right hamstring.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press