Final

Yankees 4

(13-14, 5-9 away)

Reds 5

(15-14, 8-7 home)

1:05 PM ET, March 30, 2005

Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota, Florida 

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NYY 000102010 4 - -
CIN 10100210 - 5 - -

Cincinnati 5, New York 4

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) -- Danny Graves jinxed a good thing.

The Cincinnati Reds' superstitious closer gave up his first run of spring training -- on Ruben Sierra's sixth-inning triple Wednesday -- and came away from a 5-4 victory over the New York Yankees feeling a deep sense of relief.

"I know it's bad to say," Graves said. "I still try to get guys out, to not let them score. But I'm really glad that happened."

Graves, who saved 41 games last season, was getting antsy as he went deeper into spring training with a perfect ERA -- 10 appearances, 11 innings, no runs, eight hits allowed.

He openly talked about the scoreless streak this week, hoping he'd get nicked for a run before he left Florida. The Yankees granted his wish.

He took over in the sixth inning for Paul Wilson, who will start the Reds' season opener next Monday. Tino Martinez singled to open the inning and Sierra drove him home with a triple to right-center. John Flaherty followed with an RBI single, and Graves' fears evaporated.

It's the only time he'll be happy to get hit.

"When the season starts, you want to go as long as you can without giving up anything," Graves said. "You'll never hear me during the season say anything about jinxing anybody.

"I didn't want it to happen. I want to get the bad innings out of the way because it never fails that if you do great during the spring, you get there during the season and everything crumbles at once."

Sierra also hit a solo homer off Wilson, who allowed six hits and one run in his final appearance before the opener.

The Yankees got a solid performance from right-hander Carl Pavano, making his final appearance before a season-opening series at Yankee Stadium against the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

Pavano allowed six hits and four runs in six innings, striking out five. Joe Randa doubled twice and was hit by a pitch, extending his hitting tear to 11-for-19 in his last seven games. D'Angelo Jimenez also had a single and a run-scoring triple off Pavano, who had a 2.88 ERA this spring.

"That's the best I've felt all spring," Pavano said. "The season's coming up, this was my last start. This is a good time to feel great. I've gotten better every start."

Ryan Freel, limited by a strained thigh for the last week, started in center for the Reds and hit a solo homer in the seventh off Buddy Groom, who hadn't allowed a run in six appearances.

Game notes


Ken Griffey Jr. got a day off after playing most of a 10-inning game the previous night. The Reds are being cautious with the center fielder, who had surgery to reattach a torn hamstring last August. ... The Yankees expect Tony Womack and Jason Giambi back in the lineup Thursday. Womack was hit on the left knee by a pitch Monday. Giambi has had a tight left hamstring. ... The 39-year-old Groom, a non-roster invitee to spring training, will start the season with Triple-A Columbus. The Yankees plan to begin the year with 12 pitchers, all of whom are on major league contracts. Groom has a clause in his contract that allows him to become a free agent on May 1 if he is still in the minors. The left-hander believes a spot on a major league roster somewhere should open up by that time. "There's no reason for me to stay in the minors for the full season," Groom said. "I'll probably go home if it comes to that. I would stay in shape. I don't think it will come to that." ... New York closer Mariano Rivera is scheduled to pitch two innings in a minor league game Thursday.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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