Reds 4, Expos 2

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CINCINNATI (AP)—Brian Reith’s second chance as a starting pitcher turned out much better than his first.

Reith made his first major league start in more than two years Saturday, and he responded with five shutout innings as the Cincinnati Reds held on for a 4-2 win over the Montreal Expos.

Sean Casey and Russell Branyan each hit two-run homers and left fielder Dernell Stenson made three outstanding catches, including one with his back against the wall in the ninth, to give Reith the second win of his career and first in nine career starts.

“It seemed like it was a long time coming,” said Reith, whose previous season high was three innings.

Reith (2-3) allowed just two hits and two walks with one strikeout to earn his first win in nine career starts.

“He was outstanding,” Reds manager Dave Miley said. “He probably gave us one more inning than what we were shooting for. We were talking this morning about getting maybe three or four innings out of him, but he kept his pitch count down and deserved the chance to go out one more time.”

Reith hadn’t started in the majors since July 4, 2001, when he was tagged for the last of six consecutive losses. He spent all of 2002 in the minors and made 41 relief appearances this season.

“I’ve had to live with what happened two years ago,” Reith said. “It was eating at me. To prove that I can be a starter is good.”

John Riedling followed Reith with three perfect innings of relief, and Chris Reitsma pitched the ninth, allowing both of the Expos’ runs.

Montreal starter Livan Hernandez (15-10) will finish the season as the Expos’ leading winner despite going 0-1 in his last four starts. He recorded his league-leading eighth complete game of the season, allowing seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts in eight innings.

“He made three mistakes,” Montreal manager Frank Robinson said. “He threw three or four pitches up, and they hit them. I thought he threw very well with no run support. If there’s no run support, you don’t win.”

“I got two pitches up to the left-handers (Casey and Branyan), and they hit them good,” Hernandez said.

The Reds took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on D’Angelo Jimenez’s two-out single and Casey’s 14th homer of the season.

They made it 4-0 in the eighth on Casey’s one-out single followed by Branyan’s ninth home run.

Reith allowed two baserunners in the fifth, but Stenson’s defense helped keep Montreal scoreless. After Wil Cordero drew a leadoff walk, Stenson made a backhanded stab of a drive to the warning track in left-center field.

One out later, with Cordero on second after Michael Barrett’s single, Stenson went to the warning track to make an over-the-shoulder catch of Hernandez’s fly ball.

Orlando Cabrera and Cordero drove in Montreal’s runs with a pair of ninth-inning singles before Stenson ended the game by catching Ron Calloway’s fly ball as he slammed backward into the wall.

“The wind was blowing out and the ball was carrying a little more than usual,” said Stenson, who heaved a visible sigh of relief after catchingCalloway’s ball. “It almost came out.”

Notes

Jimenez snapped a 0-for-14 slump with his first-inning single. … Reith became the 17th pitcher to start for the Reds this season, extending the club record. The previous record was 15, set in 1912 and tied in 1945. … Casey’s 14 homers are his most since he hit 20 in 2000. … Montreal’s starting pitchers had not allowed a home run in 49 1-3 innings, a streak dating to Sept.16. … The Expos lead the National League with 15 complete games.

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