Series: Game 3 of 3

Cincinnati won 2-1

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 4

(64-82, 32-43 away)

Reds 1

(71-74, 36-38 home)

    12:35 PM ET, September 11, 2002

    Cinergy Field, Cincinnati, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    PIT 000000400 4 - -
    CIN 100000000 1 - -

    W: R. Villone (3-6)

    L: E. Dessens (7-8)

    S: M. Williams (41)

    Dessens loses perfect game, then loses game

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- Gookie Dawkins' errant throw ended Elmer Dessens' perfect game in the seventh. Two batters later, the no-hitter and the lead were gone, too.

    The right-hander retired 19 consecutive batters before Dawkins threw into the Cincinnati Reds' dugout on Jack Wilson's grounder in the seventh. One out later, Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run homer that sent the Pittsburgh Pirates on to a 4-1 victory Wednesday.

    Craig Wilson added another two-run homer in the inning off Dessens (7-8), who didn't make a bad pitch until he got into the seventh.

    "I've never been in that situation,'' Dessens said. "Everything was working good. I tried to stay back and stay down, but I made a mistake and he hit it out.''

    The Pirates avoided a three-game sweep before a crowd of 14,514 that started the afternoon by remembering the terrorist attacks, then got caught up in Dessens' quest for perfection.

    Dessens had only one close call through the first six innings. Craig Wilson hit a drive to left that landed just foul in the fifth, then lined out to second baseman Todd Walker, who made a backhand catch to end the inning.

    Dawkins, who was called up from the minors following Monday night's game, cleanly fielded Jack Wilson's grounder with one out in the seventh, then sailed his throw into the Reds' dugout.

    "It just got away from me,'' Dawkins said. "I was trying to hurry it up, but I knew I had more time. Everybody knows it's a routine thing. You've got to make the play, plain and simple. As soon as I released it, I knew it was in the dugout.''

    Brian Giles flied out, and Ramirez followed with his 15th homer to left -- a shot that easily cleared the wall. Rob Mackowiak then hit a grounder that glanced off the first-base bag for a single, and Craig Wilson hit his 15th homer to left.

    Left-hander Ron Villone (3-6) pitched 1 1-3 hitless innings in relief of Kris Benson, who allowed three hits in the first five innings and struck out six. Mike Williams struck out the side in the ninth for his 41st save in 44 chances, helping Pittsburgh avoid a three-game sweep.

    Before the game, which drew the largest crowd of the three-game series, the teams observed the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

    Pirates catcher Keith Osik, who lives on Long Island, was at New York's LaGuardia Airport last Sept. 11, waiting to catch a flight back to Pittsburgh after spending an off day at home. It took him five days to rejoin the team.

    "It still hurts for people,'' Osik said. "It was definitely a different day than playing just a regular day game. I was glad I was playing, actually. It puts this in perspective. We're baseball players. This is what do. We have to keep working.''

    Pregame ceremonies at the first game of the day in the major leagues included religious and patriotic music by a bagpipe-and-drum corps, appearances by representatives of the Army, Navy, Marines, and National Guard, as well as local police and fire department officers, dispatchers and members of the American Red Cross.

    A letter from President Bush was read by the public-address announcer. Andy Moskal, 14, the son of a victim of the attacks on the World Trade Center, threw a ceremonial first pitch to Reds captain Barry Larkin.

    Moskal's father, William, was an official with Marsh USA Inc. and a member of the safety team at the Great American Ball Park construction site. Lorraine Moskal, Andy's mother, also was on hand.

    Workers at the neighboring ballpark construction site watched the ceremonies, as did the Reds and Pirates, who stood in front of their dugouts before the managers and starting lineups were introduced.

    "It was real touching,'' said Villone, a New Jersey native and resident. "You look up and reflect on what you're really doing. It took a second for the bagpipes to leave my head. Bagpipes touch the deepest emotions. The silence was there, but the emotions were loud.''

    Game notes

    Villone's win was his first in 33 relief appearances ... Villone has retired 14 consecutive batters ... The Pirates have been held hitless through six innings four times this season. ... Pittsburgh's four-run seventh snapped a streak of 15 consecutive scoreless innings ... Dessens has lost his last three decisions and hasn't won since July 21, a stretch that includes 20 days on the disabled list.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press