The Cincinnati Reds are establishing themselves as the bad boys of baseball.
Following their second brawl in a week, the Reds take on the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a three-game series at Bank One Ballpark.
Violence again mired a Cincinnati victory as the Reds’ 3-1 win Thursday was disrupted in the seventh inning with a benches-clearing brawl.
“I’ve got a question: Didn’t they just get into a fight a couple days ago?” Cubs manager Dusty Baker asked. “It looks like they’ve got some bad blood brewing with some other people.”
After the two exchanged words, Farnsworth tackled Wilson as both benches emptied. When the brawl subsided, Wilson left the field with a bloodied face.
“You’ve got two teams fighting for first place or to stay in the pennant race, and little things are upsetting,” Reds manager Bob Boone said. “Testosterone was flying around the field.”
Chasing their first title since the 1990 team won the World Series, the Reds gained a split of the four-game series with the NL Central leaders.
In maintaining their charge to the top of the division, the Reds will have to combat their bad karma against the Diamondbacks.
Arizona has won 11 consecutive against Cincinnati, dating back to the 2001 season.
The reigning NL West champion Diamondbacks have won four of five, including Thursday’s 4-2 win over Houston.
STANDINGS: Reds - 4th place, 3 GB, NL Central. Diamondbacks - 4th place, 8 GB, NL West.
REDS PROBABLE STARTER: Danny Graves (3-6, 5.20 ERA). Graves is 0-4 with a 6.30 ERA over his last five starts—a skid that follows a three-game win streak. The right-hander pitched well in Saturday’s 12-2 loss to Philadelphia, allowing two runs and six hits over five innings. In 18 career appearances against the Diamondbacks, Graves is 2-1 with a 6.33 ERA and six saves.
DIAMONDBACKS PROBABLE STARTER: Elmer Dessens (4-4, 5.38 ERA). Dessens makes his first start against his former team since being traded in a four-team deal during the offseason. The right-hander, who hasn’t figured into a decision since a 9-5 win over San Diego on May 25, is coming off one of his worst starts of the season. He surrendered five runs—four earned—and 10 hits over 4 2-3 innings Sunday in Arizona’s 12-8 loss to Minnesota. In six career relief appearances against Cincinnati, Dessens was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Reds - Austin Kearns, .288 avg. and 57 RBIs; Adam Dunn, 22 HRs and 46 runs; Aaron Boone, 11 SBs. Diamondbacks - Gonzalez, .312 avg., 15 HRs, 49 RBIs and 45 runs; Tony Womack, 8 SBs.
2002 SEASON SERIES: Diamondbacks, 6-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Reds - The Reds’ current four-game road winning streak is their longest of the season. … 1B Sean Casey is batting .333 (8-for-24) over his last six games to raise his average to .287. … OF Ken Griffey Jr. was out of the Reds lineup for the third consecutive game with a sore leg and hip. His status for Friday’s game remains uncertain. Diamondbacks - Arizona is just 6-10 all-time against the Reds at Bank One Ballpark. … RHP Dessens is the only Arizona starter who has not missed a start this season. … LF Gonzalez is batting .394 (28-for-71) over his last 18 games with five homers and 19 RBIs.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Reds - 15-16 on the road; Diamondbacks - 18-18 at home.
INJURIES: Reds - INF Ryan Freel (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP John Riedling (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (elbow), 60-day DL. Diamondbacks - INF Shea Hillenbrand (oblique), 15-day DL; INF Junior Spivey (ankle), 15-day DL; LHP Randy Johnson (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Mantei (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Curt Schilling (hand), 15-day DL; RHP Bret Prinz (groin), 60-day DL; INF Craig Counsell (thumb), 60-day DL.