Series: Game 1 of 3

Cincinnati leads 1-0 (as of 6/30)

Game 1: Friday, June 30
Game 2: Saturday, July 1
Game 3: Sunday, July 2

Indians 8

(35-43, 15-24 away)

Reds 9

(44-36, 20-20 home)

7:10 PM ET, June 30, 2006

Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio 

123456789 R H E
CLE 500100011 8 11 0
CIN 000000045 9 17 1

W: K. Mercker (1-1)

L: B. Wickman (1-4)

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.

Elias Says
Adam Dunn
Adam Dunn's grand-slam home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Reds trailing, 8-5, gave Cincinnati a 9-8 win over the Indians. Dunn's walkoff slam was the first of its kind in the majors (two outs in the ninth inning or later and the home team trailing by exactly three runs) since July 28, 2001, when Brian Giles victimized Billy Wagner to give the Pirates a 9-8 win over the Astros.

• For more Elias Says, Click here.

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press