Pittsburgh (65-78) at Cincinnati (62-82)

Fair Currently: Cincinnati, OH
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Wed Sep 10, 2003
  • TV: FSPI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

It took a while, but the Cincinnati Reds finally figured out how to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds will look to make it back-to-back wins as they play the third game of the four-game series.

Russell Branyan hit a three-run homer and Wily Mo Pena added a go-ahead two-run shot in Cincinnati’s six-run sixth inning as the Reds beat up on Pittsburgh’s bullpen in 10-6 win on Tuesday. The Pirates had won the previous seven meetings in Cincinnati.

By winning Tuesday, the Reds also avoided losing eight straight at home to the Pirates for the first time since April 16-July 27, 1903.

“It’s about time we beat these guys,” said Reds first baseman Sean Casey, who had three hits. “It was good for us to stop the streak.”

The homers hit by Branyan and Pena were Cincinnati’s first in 33 innings dating to Friday.

“That was probably as huge as anything,” Reds manager Dave Miley said. “We’ve talked about it the last couple of days. That was a big difference for us.”

Pittsburgh has dropped three of four.

“That was our 24th blown save and 27th loss by our bullpen,” Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We didn’t pitch well. We were pretty much (bad) all night.”

Despite the loss, the Pirates seem to be coming around on offense. After scoring just 14 runs in seven games, Pittsburgh has plated 15 in the last two games.

STANDINGS: Pirates - 4th place, 11 1/2 GB, NL Central. Reds - 6th place, 15 GB, NL Central.

PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Oliver Perez (4-8, 5.50 ERA). The left-hander has made two starts for Pittsburgh since coming over from San Diego as part of the package for Brian Giles. He pitched well in his last start, allowing just one run and six hits over seven innings, but didn’t figure in the decision in the Pirates’ 3-2 defeat to Atlanta on Friday. Perez was knocked around in his lone appearance against the Reds this season, suffering a 9-5 loss Aug. 9 while still with San Diego.

REDS PROBABLE STARTER: Todd Van Poppel (0-0, 6.35 ERA). With right-hander Aaron Harang sidelined with a stiff lower back, Van Poppel will make his first start for the Reds. The veteran right-hander has pitched 11 1-3 innings out of the bullpen this season, allowing eight runs and 10 hits. Van Poppel, who pitched briefly for the Pirates in 1998, is 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA in nine relief appearances against Pittsburgh.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Pirates - Jason Kendall, .322 avg. and 77 runs; Reggie Sanders, 30 HRs, 80 RBIs and 13 SBs. Reds - Casey, .285 avg. and 72 RBIs; Adam Dunn, 27 HRs and 70 runs; Dunn and Ryan Freel, 8 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Pirates, 7-3.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Pirates - SS Jose Hernandez is 3-for-10 in his career against RHP Van Poppel. … C Kendall has six hits in his last three games. … After hitting .238 in the first half of the season, SS Jack Wilson is hitting .270 since the All-Star break. Reds - Right-handed batters are hitting .351 against Van Poppel this season. … The Reds have used 119 different lineups this season, including a new one in each of the last 20 games. … Cincinnati pitchers have allowed at least one home run in each of the last seven games and in 15 of the last 16.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Pirates - 33-40 on the road; Reds - 32-41 at home.

INJURIES: Pirates - INF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL; INF Pokey Reese (thumb), 60-day DL; RHP Kris Benson (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL. Reds - RHP Harang (back), day-to-day; SS Barry Larkin (finger), 15-day DL; OF Dunn (thumb), 15-day DL; RHP Jose Acevedo (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Ryan Dempster (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Mark Watson (kidney), 15-day DL; RHP Jimmy Haynes (back), 60-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (shoulder), 60-day DL; INF Brandon Larson (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Ken Griffey Jr. (ankle), 60-day DL; OF Austin Kearns (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Reggie Taylor (shoulder), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

O. Pérez Ari vs. T. Van Poppel NYM
4-10 Record 3-1
5.47 ERA 5.59
141 K 34
77 BB 15
1.63 WHIP 1.37