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CINCINNATI 3, COLORADO 1

5/20/2004

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Danny Graves felt like a rookie when he took
the mound before his milestone save.

Graves recorded two assists in a perfect ninth to become the
Cincinnati Reds' all-time saves leader, backing a solid effort by
starter Paul Wilson in a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies on
Thursday night.

Graves moved past John Franco with his 149th career save, and
major league-leading 18th in 22 opportunities this season.

"I'm still shaking," said Graves, who got an assist on the
final out despite bobbling Todd Helton's chopper in front of the
mound.

"I've never been so nervous in my life," he said. "All I was
thinking was, 'Please hurry up and get this over with.' I was more
nervous tonight than in my major league debut. I'm so happy it's
over with."

Wilson (6-0) outdueled Colorado's Joe Kennedy, who had a
no-hitter through five innings. Wilson pitched eight solid innings
and contributed a key hit to Cincinnati's three-run sixth inning.

"I can't say enough about our defense, and I'm super-pumped
about (Graves)," Wilson said. "He's an unbelievable guy and an
unbelievable closer."

Wilson allowed one run, three hits and struck out six while
extending his career-best winning streak to six games.

"Paul did an unbelievable job of pitching," catcher Jason
LaRue said. "The defense turned in some highlight-reel plays
behind him, and he was moving the ball in and out and keeping it
down. He was able to keep them off balance."

Colorado manager Clint Hurdle was impressed by both starting
pitchers.

"(Wilson) threw strikes to both sides of the plate," Hurdle
said. "He controlled our bat speed, but so did our guy. Kennedy
pitched great."

Kennedy (4-2) retired 15 of the first 16 he faced, including
seven strikeouts, and allowed only Barry Larkin to reach on a walk.
In seven innings, Kennedy allowed five hits and three runs -- two
earned -- with one walk and a season-high nine strikeouts.

"Their guy did a good job of keeping the ball down and mixing
it up," LaRue said.

With the Reds trailing 1-0, LaRue broke up the no-hit bid by
lining a 1-1 pitch into right field for a clean single to lead off
the sixth.

"It was a sinker away," he said. "I just tried to go with it
and I squeaked it through. Then we exploded a little bit."

Wilson came up with a single up the middle with the corner
infielders charging on the pitch.

"I actually heard (first baseman Todd) Helton say he was
charging, and before I could get the bat off my shoulder, he was
down my throat," Wilson said. "I tried to hit a groundball at
them, and I was lucky enough to hit it up the middle."

The Reds tied it when Ryan Freel reached on a bunt single and
Kennedy's throw got away from second baseman Denny Hocking covering
first -- allowing LaRue to score from second and Wilson to move to
third.

"I knew he was going to try to bunt," Kennedy said. "I rushed
the throw a little bit, but that's still a play I've got to make."

Larkin's sacrifice fly scored Wilson and Freel moved to third.
Sean Casey made it 3-1 with a single to right.

Castilla gave Colorado a 1-0 lead with his third homer in four
games and 12th of the season, an opposite-field shot to right with
two outs in the fourth.

Wilson was more than happy to turn it over to Graves.

"I was gassed," Wilson said. "I wanted him to get (the
record) on my night. He's my closer."

Game notes
Colorado scored first for the first time since May 9 at
Chicago, a span of nine games. ... The game lasted 1 hour, 56
minutes, the shortest for the Reds since 2001 ... The Rockies fell
to 0-6 in road series this season. ... Colorado lost for the 78th
consecutive time on the road when trailing after eight innings,
dating to a comeback win at Seattle on June 30, 2001. ...
Cincinnati's Austin Kearns celebrated his 24th birthday with his
first hit in six at-bats since being reinstated from the disabled
list Wednesday. ... Reds 3B Brandon Larson, on the disabled list
with a strained left quadriceps, will begin a rehab assignment at
Double-A Chattanooga on Saturday. ... Colorado placed RHP Scott
Elarton on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional
release.