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Hall hits two-run homer for win

4/28/2004

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Chad Moeller felt awful -- except at the plate.

Fighting muscle aches and chills the past few days, the
Milwaukee Brewers catcher hit for the cycle Tuesday night in a 9-8
victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The Brewers rallied from an 8-6 deficit in the ninth inning and
won on pinch-hitter Bill Hall's two-out, two-run homer off closer
Danny Graves.

Moeller was in the dugout tunnel near a heater when he saw
Hall's line drive leave the park on television.

"I really do feel under the weather," he said. "My whole
focus today was really just getting through nine innings behind the
plate somehow, some way. It probably just helped me out because I
didn't think about anything except just three more outs, or six
more outs.

"If we would have gone extra (innings), it would have been a
real battle for me. I don't know if I would have made it through,"
Moeller said.

Hall's home run made sure he didn't have to. Hall was quick to
credit his sick teammate, however.

"Those are the times when you have your best games," Hall
said. "It means you are not trying to do as much. "It's just like
Michael Jordan in the playoffs."

Moeller homered in the second inning, doubled in the fourth,
tripled in the fifth and singled in the seventh, becoming the first
Brewers player to complete the cycle since Paul Molitor in 1991.

Obtained from Arizona last offseason in the Richie Sexson trade,
Moeller is the fifth Brewers player to accomplish the feat.

Molitor, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer,
did it on May 15, 1991, at Minnesota, when Milwaukee was in the
American League. Molitor is now the hitting coach for the Seattle
Mariners.

The other Brewers to hit for the cycle were Hall of Famer Robin
Yount on June 12, 1988, at Chicago, Charlie Moore on Oct. 1, 1980,
at California, and Mike Hegan on Sept. 3, 1976, at Detroit.

"It's pretty darn cool to be in that company," Moeller said.
"They are some of the best that have ever played the game.

"I am nowhere even in the ZIP code of being with those guys.
But with this one little silly stat I am."

Despite Moeller's big night, the Reds led 8-6 entering the
bottom of the ninth before Graves (0-2) blew his third save in 13
chances. Cincinnati's shaky fielding kept the Brewers in it.

Wes Helms reached on an infield single with one out, advanced to
second on a wild pitch and to third on a throwing error by catcher
Jason LaRue.

Moeller's grounder to third with two outs could have ended the
game, but Brandon Larson short-hopped the throw to first for an
error that made it 8-7.

It was Cincinnati's fifth error of the game.

Hall followed with a liner over the left-center wall, and the
second-smallest crowd in Miller Park history (8,918) went wild.
Hall was mobbed at home plate by his teammates.

"Once it got to 2-0, I was selling out and trying to drive
one," Hall said. "You only get one chance."

Moeller, for one, was happy to see it.

"That would have been really disappointing, to have a good day
but all you remember is how the day finishes," Moeller said.

Jeff Bennett (1-0) got his first major league win for the
Brewers.

Graves has lost 10 straight decisions dating to last year.

Moeller's first three hits came against starter Cory Lidle.
Moeller completed the cycle with a single off reliever Ryan Wagner,
prompting a standing ovation from the sparse crowd.

Moeller, who drove in four runs, entered the game in a 3-for-24
slump.

He is the first Brewers player to hit for the cycle at home, and
just the second big league player to do it in Milwaukee. Gary Ward
was the first on Sept. 18, 1980, for Minnesota.

The last major league catcher to accomplish the feat was
Pittsburgh's Jason Kendall on May 19, 2000, against St. Louis,
according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"I wanted to win that game as much for Chad as I did anything
else," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "That's a huge
accomplishment. You can't celebrate it like you need to when you
lose. It doesn't mean near as much."

LaRue's three-run homer tied it in the sixth, and Barry Larkin's
RBI double gave the Reds a 7-6 lead.

Moeller's bases-loaded triple off the right-center fence put
Milwaukee ahead 6-3 in the fifth.

Junior Spivey tied it at 3 with a solo homer.

Just 11 pitches into the game, Cincinnati grabbed the lead on a
two-run double off the left-center wall by Ken Griffey Jr.

Griffey scored on a wild pitch in the ninth to make it 8-6.

Game notes
Moeller entered the game hitting .200 with one home run and
five RBI. ... Reds reliever Phil Norton left in the sixth inning
with a bruised left quadriceps after colliding with first baseman
Sean Casey. ... The smallest crowd in Miller Park history was 8,703
against Cincinnati last Sept. 2. The ballpark opened in 2001.