Series: Game 1 of 3

Cincinnati leads 1-0 (as of 5/21)

Game 1: Tuesday, May 21
Florida 1Final
Cincinnati 6
Game 2: Wednesday, May 22
Florida 2Final
Cincinnati 6
Game 3: Thursday, May 23
Florida 8Final
Cincinnati 4

Marlins 1

(23-22, 10-14 away)

Reds 6

(27-18, 14-8 home)

    7:10 PM ET, May 21, 2002

    Cinergy Field, Cincinnati, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    FLA 001000000 1 - -
    CIN 01005000 - 6 - -

    W: C. Reitsma (3-0)

    L: A. Burnett (5-4)

    S: D. Graves (15)

    Rookie Kearns hits first grand slam of career

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- Austin Kearns knew it was coming. Once it left the bat, he knew where it was going, too.

    Austin Kearns

    Austin Kearns has the potential to be a star for the Reds.

    Kearns hit a sloppy fastball for his first career grand slam as the Cincinnati Reds took advantage of A.J. Burnett's wildness and beat the Florida Marlins 6-1 Tuesday night.

    Kearns' fifth-inning slam -- the second by a Cincinnati rookie this season -- helped the Reds rebound from a tough series in St. Louis that sliced their lead in the NL Central to three games.

    ``After losing three of four in St. Louis, we wanted to get something going,'' Kearns said.

    Burnett (5-4) helped them along, walking five in five innings, including one with the bases loaded.

    Unable to get his breaking ball over, he wound up loading the bases in the fifth and then going to a full count on Kearns. Both of them knew what was coming on the next pitch -- a fastball.

    ``Austin's really settling in,'' Reds manager Bob Boone said. ``He got a situation where he pretty much knows it's going to be a fastball. When it's 96 mph and in the middle of the plate, he knows what to do with it. If he pops it up, that's a different ballgame.''

    There was no doubt where it was headed when it left the bat, leaving Burnett to drop his head in disgust.

    ``If I make a pitch and get ahead, the pressure's on him,'' Burnett said. ``But the pressure was on me. He was sitting (on it) and he got what he wanted.''

    Chris Reitsma (3-0) escaped a bases-loaded, one-out threat in the fourth and gave up seven hits before leaving with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth.

    Danny Graves got Charles Johnson on a groundout to end the eighth and finished for his 15th save in 19 chances.

    Reitsma lost 15 games as a rookie last season, but has held opponents to seven runs in his last six starts, a span of 35 1-3 innings. The solid stretch has lowered his ERA to 2.59 and steadied a rotation that lost Joey Hamilton to a pulled hamstring.

    The Marlins fell to 2-6 on the longest road trip in franchise history, a 14-game, four-city trek that has been filled with homers. Marlins pitchers have given up 17 in the eight games, including three grand slams.

    Burnett set up all of the Reds' runs with his wildness. The right-hander has walked 34 in 69 1-3 innings, one of the worst ratios in the NL.

    He gave up Todd Walker's double between a pair of outs in the second, then intentionally walked Corky Miller to face Reitsma. Burnett walked the pitcher, who is 0-for-13 this season, then walked Barry Larkin to force in a run.

    ``That's the kicker,'' Burnett said. ``I've got to throw strikes. A guy hits a grand slam, but five walks -- that's unacceptable.''

    Burnett walked Larkin again with one out in the fifth, then gave up singles by Juan Encarnacion and Sean Casey that made it 2-1. After a walk to Adam Dunn loaded the bases, Burnett went to a full count on Kearns before leaving a fastball over the inside half of the plate.

    Kearns' sixth homer and first slam brought a curtain call from the bundled crowd of 16,841. The temperature was 55 degrees at the first pitch, but quickly dipped into the 40s.

    Kearns' grand slam was the second by a rookie in the NL this season. Teammate Reggie Taylor also hit one May 12.

    Luis Castillo singled home Florida's run in the third, extending his hitting streak to a season-high nine games. But the Marlins wasted a chance to take control in the fourth, when they loaded the bases with one out.

    Johnson struck out on three pitches, the last one a 93 mph fastball, and Andy Fox went down swinging on Reitsma's 74 mph changeup.

    Game notes

    Burnett has walked at least four batters in six of his 10 starts. He threw 103 pitches -- 59 for strikes -- in five innings, matching his shortest outing this season. ... Burnett hasn't had much success against the Reds. In five starts, he's 1-3 with a 7.86 ERA. ... The Reds have hit three grand slams this season -- by Kearns, Taylor and Dunn. All three have been at Cinergy Field. ... Dunn hasn't homered in 13 games or driven in a run in his last six, his deepest slumps of the season. ... Reitsma's 7 2-3 innings marked the longest appearance by a Reds starter this season. They had only two complete games last season, matching the NL record low.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press