LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Dodgers manager Jim Tracy had a tough choice:
pitch to Ken Griffey Jr. with first base open and two outs or walk
him and go after Adam Dunn with the bases loaded.
Guillermo Mota pitched to Griffey, and the 11-time All-Star singled home Cincinnati's final two runs in the eighth inning. The
clutch hit helped secure a 6-3 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday,
giving the Reds their first three-game sweep of the season."I wasn't expecting it with first base open, but sometimes you
gamble," said Griffey, who hit a two-run homer Saturday night.
"When it got to 2-2, I was just trying to stay in there."Tracy defended his difficult decision following the Dodgers'
fourth straight loss."If you intentionally walk Griffey, then you have to pitch in
the zone to the next guy -- who the last time I checked was leading
the National League in home runs. So the complexion of the at-bat
changes completely," Tracy said."You force Guillermo to have to throw the ball over the plate
to Adam Dunn, and you run the risk of the ball being hit out of the
ballpark or into the gap. We had Griffey with two strikes, and the
selection of the pitch was a good one. But the location of it was
not. It stayed in the middle of the plate and was down, right in
the path and the sweep of Griffey's swing."Dunn had his first three-hit game of the season, including a
two-run double in a four-run first inning against Jeff Weaver.
Aaron Harang (4-1) held the Dodgers to a pair of runs and six hits
in 6 2-3 innings, including a two-out homer by David Ross in the
fourth."We didn't score a lot of runs in this series, but anytime you
get the kind of pitching we got, you're going to win a lot of
ballgames," Dunn said.Danny Graves pitched a perfect ninth for his major
league-leading 17th save in 20 attempts and 148th with the Reds,
tying John Franco's franchise record."I'm always confident. You have to be confident to play this
game and have any kind of success," Graves said. "Obviously,
things are going well right now, but it's a long year and I'm aware
of that. I've learned that you can't get too high or too low."Graves saved all three games in the series. He has closed out
all but three of Cincinnati's victories this season."I don't feel pressure," Graves said. "The closer on any club
is only as good as the rest of your team is. We're not a team
that's going to blow people out and win 10-0. Our wins are going to
come in a lot of close games. That's why I've been fortunate enough
to have these opportunities."Joe Thurston just missed his first major league homer by inches
with two outs in the seventh against Harang, settling for his first
big league triple. Phil Norton relieved, and pinch-hitter Jose
Hernandez drove the left-hander's second pitch to left-center for
his fourth homer, trimming Cincinnati's lead to 4-3.Adrian Beltre, who entered the series with the second-highest
batting average in the majors behind Dodgers teammate Paul Lo Duca,
was 1-for-12, dropping his average from 3.77 to .345. Lo Duca also
went 1-for-12, lowering his mark from .386 to .365."It was a rough weekend," said Dodgers cleanup hitter Shawn
Green, who failed to drive in a run in 11 at-bats against
Cincinnati. "We didn't hit, we didn't pitch, we didn't do a lot of
things. It's hard to win when you don't play the game right. You
never want to get swept, but better now than later."Weaver (2-5) threw 38 pitches in the first inning, when he gave
up all four runs that were charged to him -- equaling the total he
allowed in his previous two starts combined. The right-hander gave
up seven hits in five innings, struck out five and walked one.Dunn, who entered the game 4-for-26 with runners in scoring
position, sliced a two-run double into the left-field corner with
the bases loaded. Griffey scored on a groundout by Jacob Cruz, and
Tim Hummel added an RBI single.
Reds leadoff hitter Ryan Freel reached base all five times
up. He hit his NL-leading fifth triple, singled, walked and was hit
by a pitch twice. ... Hernandez's homer was his third in the majors
as a pinch-hitter, and first since April 28, 1998, at Dodger
Stadium for the Cubs. ... Weaver reached the 1,000-inning mark when
he retired Juan Castro on a grounder leading off the fourth. ...
Griffey was 0-for-2 against Weaver and is hitless in 10 career
at-bats against him.