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Wilson goes seven innings

5/15/2004

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Paul Wilson remained unbeaten because he kept
the ball in the strike zone -- something Kazuhisa Ishii had a
difficult time finding.

Wilson won his fifth straight decision and the Cincinnati Reds
capitalized on another wild outing by Ishii to beat the Los Angeles
Dodgers 2-1 Friday night.

"It's up to the starting pitcher to dictate the game," Wilson
said. "I was real aggressive with the fastball and the slider."

Wilson (5-0) pitched seven innings in his eighth start of the
season, allowing a run and five hits with four strikeouts and two
walks. It's the first time in his career that he has won five
consecutive decisions.

"He's worked hard, on and off the field," Ken Griffey Jr.
said. "Even when he's not starting, he stays focused day in and
day out. After every start, he begins preparing himself for his
next start."

Wilson took a two-hit shutout into the sixth inning before Jason
Grabowski led off with a double and scored on a single by Cesar
Izturis, who had three of the Dodgers' first four hits off the
right-hander.

Izturis advanced to third on a pair of groundouts, but Adrian
Beltre struck out. Beltre went 0-for-4 and his hitting streak ended
at 16 games, one short of his career best.

Todd Jones pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Danny Graves
got three outs for his major league-leading 15th save in 18
attempts.

A night after teammate Hideo Nomo walked three straight batters
in a six-run second inning of a 7-3 loss to the Cubs, Ishii (5-2)
did the same in a two-run fourth. The left-hander allowed two runs
on one hit and seven walks in four innings after winning his last
three starts.

"He was a little wild tonight. It was obvious because he walked
seven batters," Reds leadoff hitter Ryan Freel said. "It's tough
to watch pitches because you have to try to stay aggressive. But I
was taking more pitches than normal tonight against him because I
knew he was getting a little erratic."

Ishii knows what went wrong. He just couldn't fix it while he
was out there.

"I think I was just rushing my pitches," Ishii said through a
translator. "I tried to adjust and stay back longer, but I wasn't
able to do it tonight. I was just releasing the ball too far in
front of me and I didn't have my weight transfer down correctly."

The Reds didn't get their first hit until Adam Dunn's leadoff
single in the fourth. Ishii walked his next three batters to force
in a run -- including Wily Mo Pena, who was in an 0-for-18 drought.

"I don't think I swung once against him," Griffey said.
"You've got to stay focused and get a smaller zone. If he throws
it in there, you've got to try to hit it, but you can't afford to
let him get you out of your rhythm."

Tim Hummel followed with a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead. But
right fielder Shawn Green prevented more damage by making an
inning-ending diving catch of a sinking liner by Freel, who slammed
his helmet to the ground in frustration after leaving two men in
scoring position.

The Reds, who left the bases loaded twice in Thursday night's
loss at San Diego, stranded three runners in the first after Ishii
walked four of his first five batters.

Ishii, the only pitcher in the majors to walk 100 or more
batters in each of the previous two seasons, has given up 27 walks
in 42 1-3 innings over his first seven starts.

Cincinnati first baseman Sean Casey was a late scratch because
of a sore left thumb, after getting jammed by a pitch Thursday
night. He was the only player to start each of the Reds' first 34
games.

"When I went to take BP today, the first swing it was just
killing me," Casey said. "I've iced it like 57 times today, but
I'm hoping to back in there tomorrow."

Game notes
The NL West-leading Dodgers fell to 10-1 in one-run games.
The record for consecutive one-run victories from the start of a
season is 11, by the 1972 New York Mets. ... Graves' latest save
came exactly one year after he became the last Reds pitcher to
throw a complete-game shutout. ... Reds C Jason LaRue, sidelined
since April 30 because of a broken right index finger, was
activated from the DL. Backup C Corky Miller, hitless in his last
15 at-bats, was optioned to Triple-A Louisville by the Reds. ...
Cincinnati did not get a hit after Barry Larkin's leadoff single in
the fifth.