PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Ken Griffey Jr. got a big hit for the
Cincinnati Reds on Monday that required no tape measure.
The Reds avoided mathematical elimination from the NL Central
race with their sixth win in nine games.
Jason LaRue drew a one-out walk from Mike Lincoln (1-4) in the
eighth. Griffey beat the Pirates' defensive shift by chopping a
pinch-hit single through the vacant shortstop position, sending
LaRue to third.
''That was huge. Huge,'' Manager Bob Boone said. ''You can ask
him but I know he did it on purpose, too.''
Griffey said he was aiming for the opening the alignment
''I haven't had a lot of at-bats in the last couple of weeks and
I'm just trying to take advantage of the opportunities that are
given to me,'' Griffey said. ''Right now I'm just trying to get on
base, get some hits.
''The home runs are going to come. I just have to get
comfortable being in the batter's box first,'' he said.
Griffey hasn't started a game since Aug. 29 because of a sore
hip. He's been limited to seven pinch hitting appearances, which
have produced two hits.
He's been on the disabled list twice this year because of knee
and hamstring injuries. Monday's at-bat was just his 168th of the
After Griffey's single, Taylor lined a single to center off Ron
Villone, who had come in to face Griffey. Taylor was 3-for-5, drove
in two runs and scored one.
Williamson wound up in a 13-pitch battle with Adrian Brown.
Brown hit seven consecutive foul balls before he popped out to end
''I was keeping him on the defensive, going at him really
hard,'' Williamson said. ''He was doing a great job and looking for
me to make that mistake. I was fortunate enough that I didn't make
a mistake and let him take a really good hack at it.''
The Pirates lost for the sixth time in eight games as their
offense failed again.
''They never really hit us with that knockout punch but they got
a number of key hits,'' Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. ''We
didn't get that hit when we really needed it.''
The Reds scored the tying run in the seventh. Taylor and Jose
Guillen hit singles off Kip Wells to start the inning. Reliever Joe
Beimel walked Todd Walker to load the bases and Aaron Boone hit a
sacrifice fly off Lincoln.
Ruben Mateo, LaRue and Taylor singled for a run in the fourth.
The Reds' first run was unearned. Walker hit a two-out single
and advanced to second on left fielder Brian Giles' error. Boone
In the Pirates' first, Reese doubled, advanced on Jack Wilson's
sacrifice and scored when Giles grounded out.
LaRue and Walker each extended hitting streaks to 12 games.
... Dessens came into the game with a 2-5 career mark against the
Pirates while Wells was 0-3 against Cincinnati. ... Dessens is
winless in seven starts since he beat the Mets on July 21. He spent
20 days on the disabled list with a groin strain. ... The crowd of
10,752 was the smallest in the Pirates' two seasons at PNC Park.
The previous low was 12,795 on April 11. ... Griffey has three hits
in his last 28 at-bats. ... The Reds are 51-30 against teams with
losing records. ... Giles was hitless in three at-bats and is in a