After finishing their road trip on a positive note, the struggling Cincinnati Reds hope things improve at home when they host the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds snapped a five-game losing streak with a 7-5 win over Montreal in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sunday, finishing their trip at 2-5. Cincinnati had been swept in a double-header a day earlier, for its worst start since 1986.
Cincinnati’s Austin Kearns hit another homer Sunday, giving him a major league-leading nine for the season. Kearns has been starting in center field for injured slugger Ken Griffey, Jr.
“We needed this one so bad,” Kearns said.
The Dodgers also got a much-needed win Sunday, routing San Francisco 16-4. Los Angeles had lost six of its previous eight games, including five straight against the Giants.
Fred McGriff had two doubles and drove in four runs and the Dodgers rallied from a four-run deficit to keep the Giants from sweeping them for the second straight week.
“It takes quite a load off these guys,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.
After scoring a total of just four runs over their first two games with San Francisco, the Dodgers came up with their best offensive performance of the season. Los Angeles had not scored more than five runs in a game since its 8-0 win over Arizona on opening day.
“It really was a tight game for the first five, six innings, so it was nice to come from behind and all of a sudden have that huge inning,” said Dodgers outfielder Shawn Green, who had four hits.
“Hopefully, it will help get the bats going, but it’s nice to finally give these guys a loss because they’re playing so well.”
STANDINGS: Dodgers - 3rd, 7 1/2 GB, NL West. Reds - 6th, 6 GB, NL Central.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Kazuhisa Ishii (1-1, 4.32 ERA). Ishii was outstanding against San Diego on Wednesday, tossing seven scoreless innings for his first win of the season. The left-hander allowed just three hits and three walks, striking out five in a 3-0 victory. Ishii was hit hard in his only career start against the Reds, allowing eight runs in just 2 2-3 innings.
REDS PROBABLE STARTER: Paul Wilson (0-1, 3.86 ERA). Wilson is coming off his worst start of the season in Wednesday’s 10-4 loss to Chicago. The right-hander allowed six runs and six hits, walking three over 3 2-3 innings. Wilson is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Dodgers - Green, .325 avg. and 12 RBIs; Brian Jordan, 3 HRs; Dave Roberts, 14 runs and 9 SBs. Reds - Sean Casey, .370 avg.; Kearns, 9 HRs, 19 RBIs and 15 runs; Aaron Boone, Reggie Taylor and Brandon Larson, 1 SBs.
2002 SEASON SERIES: Reds, 4-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Dodgers - OF McGriff passed Mickey Mantle for 39th place on the career RBI list, with his 1,510th in the fourth inning Sunday. … LHP Odalis Perez, who has a sprained right ankle that caused him to miss one start, threw a 10-minute bullpen session Sunday and reported no problems. … Tracy gave SS Cesar Izturis and struggling 3B Adrian Beltre the day off Sunday. Reds - OF Kearns has 19 hits this season—nine homers and 10 singles. … The Reds designated RHP Josias Manzanillo and LHP Jimmy Anderson for assignment and optioned 3B Larson. … Promoted Saturday night, INF Ryan Freel reported to the Reds and pinch-ran on Sunday. RHPs Chris Reitsma, Jeff Austin and Brian Reith are expected to join the team Tuesday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Dodgers - 3-7 on the road; Reds - 3-6 at home.
INJURIES: Dodgers - OF Chad Hermansen (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL. Reds - IF Barry Larkin (calf), 15-day DL; OF Russell Branyan (shoulder), 15-day DL; OF Griffey Jr. (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jimmy Haynes (back), 15-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (arm), 60-day DL.