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Reds: Five errors, mathematical elimination

9/17/2002

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- On a night when their postseason hopes officially ended, the Cincinnati Reds turned in one of their worst performances in years.

Pokey Reese had a career-high five RBI and the Reds made five
errors -- their most in 12 seasons -- in an 11-3 loss to the
Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Cincinnati, which gave up nine unearned runs, was mathematically
eliminated from postseason contention with the loss.

"It was embarrassing,'' said Reds manager Bob Boone, who was angry. "The season is not over. It's 162 games, I think. We sure didn't come to play tonight.''

The third-place Reds (74-77), who led the NL Central for 57 days
earlier this season, had not made five errors since May 21, 1990,
at Chicago's Wrigley Field.

"You don't expect a major league team to play like that,'' Reds second baseman Todd Walker said. "I don't think you ever get mad about errors and mistakes.

"When it's apparent the effort is not there, that's when you have a problem. Maybe we needed something like that to kick us in the butt to play these last 11 games hard.''

Pittsburgh scored five runs over two innings with just two hits, both singles by Reese. The Pirates took advantage of three errors, three walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch.

Cincinnati led 3-0 in the fourth when the Pirates got three
unearned runs. Third baseman Aaron Boone couldn't handle Adam
Hyzdu's one-out grounder and Craig Wilson walked. Kris Benson
dropped a bunt in front of the plate and Boone failed to glove
catcher Jason LaRue's shoulder-high throw to third. Two runs scored
and Benson went to second.

Benson advanced on Chris Reitsma's wild pitch and scored when
Reese singled.

Reese has 16 RBI this season against the Reds, the team he'd
played his entire career for prior to this season. He feuded with
management last year and wound up signing with the Pirates as a
free agent after the Reds traded him.

"It feels good to do that after what happened last year,'' Reese said. "I want to do well against them. I have some extra incentive.''

Reitsma (6-12) loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter
in the fifth. Reese drove in two runs with a two-out single.

Pittsburgh added six unearned runs in the eighth. Left fielder
Adam Dunn dropped Jack Wilson's fly ball for a two-base error, and
Bruce Chen walked two batters. Jose Silva walked Rob Mackowiak with
the bases loaded, Kevin Young hit a sacrifice fly and Adrian Brown
had a two-run double.

Reese delivered an RBI single, and Dunn dropped another Jack
Wilson fly ball, allowing the last run to score.

Dunn said he broke back on both balls and was unable to recover.

"You don't want to go out and look like a Little League team,
and toward the end, that's what we did,'' Dunn said. "Those balls
should have been caught. It's terrible.''

Kris Benson (8-6) won his fourth straight decision, a career high, allowing three runs and five hits in five innings.

Benson gave up solo homers to Russell Branyan and LaRue in the
second. Branyan hit an RBI double in the fourth.

Game notes
LaRue and Todd Walker both stretched their hitting streaks
to 13 games, a career best for LaRue. ... The Reds have lost 12 of
their last 17 road games. ... The Reds were two games behind the
first-place Cardinals on Aug. 11. They have gone 13-22 since then.
... Cincinnati was last in first place on June 15. The Reds shared
the lead on June 17. ... Benson is 8-2 in his last 16 starts. He is
two games over .500 for just the second time in his career. He was
10-8 on Aug. 8, 1999.