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Grand exit: Dunn's 9th-inning slam lifts Reds over Tribe

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Rounding the bases while his giddy teammates
poured from the dugout, Adam Dunn was thinking that this shouldn't
be happening.

Trudging off the field with his head down, closer Bob Wickman
was thinking the same thing.

Dunn's grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth
Friday night vaulted the Cincinnati Reds to a 9-8 victory over the
Cleveland Indians, who were victimized again by a threadbare
bullpen.

The Reds trailed 7-0 after seven innings, unable to get anything
going against starter Paul Byrd. Then, one of the AL's
least-dependable bullpens let another one get away.

"That was a game we probably shouldn't have won," Dunn
acknowledged. "We had no business winning that game, but everybody
just kept grinding and grinding."

When the Indians go to their bullpen, they tend to get ground
down. Wickman (1-4) was on the mound Wednesday in St. Louis, when
two Cleveland errors in the ninth helped the Cardinals rally for a
5-4 lead.

This one was much more stunning. Wickman hadn't given up a homer
all season, and had never given up a grand slam in the majors.

"I had nothing tonight," Wickman said. "It was ridiculous and
embarrassing. I can't throw a strike."

Cincinnati started the comeback off reliever Rafael Betancourt,
who gave up Austin Kearns' solo homer and a pinch-hit, three-run
shot by Juan Castro in the eighth that cut it to 7-4.

Eager to stop the comeback in one of the major leagues' most
homer-prone ballparks, manager Eric Wedge brought Wickman into the
game in a non-save situation in the ninth to hold a four-run lead.
Right away, things got worse.

Javier Valentin's RBI groundout cut it to 8-5, and two two-out
walks loaded the bases for Dunn.

"Wicky has a knack of working out of situations like that,"
said Wedge, who visited his closer on the mound to try to calm him
during the rally. "He just didn't tonight."

Dunn pulled a second-pitch fastball low over the fence in right
for his sixth career grand slam and his fifth game-ending homer.

"I knew I hit it good enough," Dunn said. "I didn't know if I
hit it high enough."

The Reds pummeled Dunn at home plate after he delivered their
third straight win -- something they hadn't done since June 6-8. The
comeback also gave Cincinnati a 3-1 lead in their intrastate
rivalry this season.

The Reds left the fielding thinking their luck might finally be
changing at Great American Ball Park, where they're only 20-20 this
season.

"We've had chances on the last couple of homestands," manager
Jerry Narron said. "It seemed like we had the tying or winning
runs on base every night. If you keep getting chances, somebody's
going to do something."

Lately, Dunn has been the guy to do it. His tiebreaking double
in the eighth inning gave the Reds a 6-5 victory over Kansas City
on Thursday night. A day later, he won a game with the Reds' 47th
homer in June, a club record.

"Hopefully, the momentum will carry over," he said.

Minnesota rookie Jason Kubel hit the last game-ending grand slam
in the majors, ending the Twins' 5-2 victory over Boston in the
12th inning on June 13. The Yankees' Jason Giambi hit the last
game-ending grand slam that provided a one-run victory -- a 13-12,
14-inning win over Minnesota on May 17, 2002.

Ken Griffey Jr. went 1-for-5 with a double, ending his streak of
four straight games with a homer. The streak ended one shy of the
Reds' record he shares with Ted Kluszewski and Johnny Bench.

Kent Mercker (1-1) got the victory despite giving up a run in
the top of the ninth. Ronnie Belliard had a solo homer that started
Cleveland's scoring in a five-run first inning, and an RBI single
that completed it in the ninth.

The Indians finished a 9-17 June that left them stranded near
the bottom of the AL Central and ready to deal for prospects at
midseason. They traded first baseman Eduardo Perez to Seattle for a
minor leaguer before Friday's game, a sign of the team's
intentions.

Then, the down-and-out Indians showed why they've been a big
disappointment all season. By giving up a seven-run lead, the
bullpen fell to 6-14 overall, by far the worst in the American
League.

Game notes
Byrd has put together two solid months, going 5-3 in his
last 12 games with a 2.85 ERA. ... With Perez traded, Wedge plans
to use several players at first base, including catcher Victor
Martinez. "Right now, he's still our catcher," Wedge said. "I
want to be clear on that. First base is an option for him." ...
Todd Hollandsworth's homer off Esteban Yan was the 40th allowed by
Cincinnati's bullpen, the most in the majors. ... Indians OF Grady
Sizemore extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... It was
Castro's second career pinch-hit homer. The other was on May 5,
2004, against Milwaukee. ... Reds 2B Brandon Phillips matched his
career high with four hits.