Reds 6, Pirates 5
CINCINNATI (AP)—Adam Dunn’s home run left the park and made everyone marvel. His sinking liner created a stir and decided the game.
Dunn hit a 479-foot homer that bounced out of the ballpark Thursday night, and followed with a disputed tiebreaking single in the eighth inning that gave the Cincinnati Reds a 6-5 victory over the winless Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates arrived in town at 1:40 a.m. after being swept in Milwaukee, and didn’t fare well on limited sleep. Pittsburgh fell to 0-4 for the first time since 1994 and only the sixth time in franchise history.
Manager Jim Tracy was ejected by crew chief Gary Darling after arguing Dunn’s decisive single, which was initially ruled an inning-ending out. With the Pirates already in the dugout and the Reds in disbelief, the umpires huddled and reversed the call, touching off tempers on the other side.
“I knew they were going to get it right,” said Dunn, who stayed at first base while the umpires sorted out the mess.
After watching the replay after he was ejected, Tracy changed his mind and agreed that everything turned out right.
“The ball hit the ground,” Tracy said. “We would have hated if they’d huddled and reversed the call and been wrong. They huddled and, to their credit, they got it right.”
First, they confused everyone.
With runners on first and second and two outs in the eighth, Dunn hit a sinking liner off Mike Gonzalez (0-1) that diving center fielder Chris Duffy caught on the short hop. Duffy held up his glove for the umpires to see, and third base umpire Bruce Dreckman raised his arm to signal an out.
Duffy knew all along he had trapped it.
“I just decided to play it up as a catch,” Duffy said. “And then I saw the ump giving the out call.”
The jubilant Pirates left the field while the Reds fumed and the umpires huddled. Darling, who had a clear view of the play from first base, got the call corrected.
“We got together, (changed) it and got it right,” Darling said.
Dunn also provided the game’s most dramatic swing, hitting the fourth-longest homer in Great American Ball Park’s four seasons. His solo shot in the sixth off John Grabow landed on a concourse by the smokestacks in center field.
According to Reds employees, the ball bounced out of the park and hit a car driving on a street. The car stopped, a person got out and retrieved the ball, and the car drove away.
“I ain’t paying,” Dunn said, joking about damage to the car.
Dunn has hit the only homer that left Great American on the fly—a 535-foot shot in 2004 that cleared the batter’s eye and landed on the street, then came to rest on a piece of driftwood in the Ohio River.
“I don’t watch them too much,” Dunn said. “They all count the same, whether they go front row like (Ken Griffey) Junior’s or 500 feet.”
Griffey singled home a run in the first inning, the 1,539th of his career. Griffey is one behind Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell for 30th on the career list.
Left-hander Brandon Claussen gave up Joe Randa’s three-run homer and hit three batters in five innings. Former Pirate Rick White (1-0) got the win despite giving up Ryan Doumit’s two-out, two-run homer that tied it at 5 in the eighth inning.
David Weathers pitched a perfect ninth for his second save in two chances.
The Reds sold only 13,887 tickets for a matchup of the NL Central’s bottom two teams last season—they finished a combined 60 games out—on a cool, rainy evening.
The game amounted to a homecoming for Sean Casey, who was traded to the Pirates last December after eight years in Cincinnati.
The popular first baseman got an ovation from the few thousand fans in the stands when he came to bat in the first inning. Casey removed his batting helmet and waved it to the crowd before fouling out to catcher Javier Valentin.
“It was odd,” Casey said. “My first at-bat was just weird. But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still baseball and you’ve got to get the job done.”
Casey went 0-for-4 overall and was hit on the arm by a pitch. Also, he got lost the first time he walked through the double doors into the visitors’ clubhouse, a place he’d never visited.
Dunn’s homer was the 160th of his career, tying Gus Bell for 10th on the Reds’ career list. … Doumit’s homer was the 12th this season in three games at Great American, which yielded 246 last year, the most in the majors. … The Pirates are only 4-for-27 with runners in scoring position this season. … Edwin Encarnacion had a pinch-hit RBI single for Cincinnati.