Simon's first HR of season comes in 9th

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Randall Simon needed almost a month to regain
his stroke after missing more than a month with a strained left

He hit his first home run of the season in the top of the ninth
inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates snapped the Cincinnati Reds'
three-game winning streak with a 1-0 victory Saturday night.

"I was just trying to hit the ball hard and have the feeling
that I used to have," said Simon, who was on the disabled list
from April 26 through May 27. "It's tough getting through those
injuries, but a game like this gives me confidence -- and I'm not
worried about my hamstrings."

Simon hit a curveball on the first pitch from Todd Jones (5-2)
into the right-field bleachers, giving the Pirates their second win
in nine games and snapping Cincinnati's six-game home winning

"I missed my spot by 3{ feet," Jones said. "Big league
hitters, especially Randall, when you miss a spot like that,
they're going to make you pay -- and he did."

Mark Corey (1-1) pitched a perfect eighth for the win. Jose Mesa
pitched the ninth for his 17th save in as many tries to set a team
record for consecutive saves in a season without a blown save. He
shared the record with Mike Williams.

Ken Griffey Jr. went 0-for-4 and is hitless in his last 20
at-bats to extend his slump to 1-for-23 since hitting his 500th
career home run last Sunday in St. Louis.

Pittsburgh starter Oliver Perez went seven innings for his third
no-decision in his last four starts. He allowed just three hits and
three walks and matched his career high with 13 strikeouts, the
most by a Pittsburgh pitcher since Jose DeLeon struck out 14
against the New York Mets on April 16, 1985.

"I was just trying to follow (catcher Jason) Kendall and keep
my pitch count low," said Perez, who threw 115 pitches, including
74 for strikes. "I was happy to keep us in the game, and I wasn't
mad that Simon hit the home run after I left."

Perez escaped bases-loaded jams in the third and fifth innings.
He got Sean Casey to line out to Simon to end the third, and struck
out Casey swinging to end the fifth.

"First of all, lefties match up well against (the Reds), and
this lefty goes 92-98 (mph)," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon
said. "He had a good slider tonight. He loves tight situations. He
thrives on those. To be only 23 and be as poised as he is, it's

Two of Perez's three previous wins had come against the Reds,
including a complete-game shutout April 25.

"Man, that Perez guy throws the ball good," Jones said.

"He has pretty good stuff," Reds starter Aaron Harang said.
"That's the second time he's done that to us this year. It's
always fun pitching those types of games."

Perez's strikeout of Griffey leading off the sixth gave him 10,
the eighth time in his career he's reached double figures in
strikeouts. Four of those eight games were against Cincinnati.

The Pirates put runners on base in all but the first inning, but
they got just one past second before Simon's homer.

Harang, making his first start since June 1 after being on the
disabled list with a sprained ligament in his right elbow, pitched
five scoreless innings for the Reds. He allowed four hits and three
walks and set a season high with seven strikeouts.

"I felt like it was the beginning of the season again," Harang
said. "The adrenaline got to me, and I had to calm down."

Game notes
Saturday's sellout was Cincinnati's fourth in a row, the
team's longest streak in the regular season since the Reds moved to
the riverfront in mid-1970. Capacity at their previous home,
Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field, was 9,473 more than Great
American Ball Park for all but the last two years of its existence.
... Kendall, in his ninth year as Pittsburgh's regular catcher,
turned 30 on Saturday. ... Reds LF Adam Dunn didn't start for just
the third time in Cincinnati's 74 games, including one start as a
designated hitter. ... Casey's fifth-inning strikeout snapped a
streak of 73 consecutive plate appearances without a strikeout.