CINCINNATI (AP) -- This much is certain: Barry Larkin is leaving
his hometown with something to remember.
Frustrated that the Cincinnati Reds have brushed him aside and
refused to talk about a contract extension, the 40-year-old
shortstop took his anger out in a final at-bat Friday night.
Larkin hit a solo homer -- perhaps his last in a Reds uniform --
and got a curtail call that capped a 5-1 victory over the
"That was straight anger, frustration and anger," said Larkin,
relegated to the bench for most of the last month. "It all
exploded. It's been a tough thing to go through."
Adam Dunn hit his 46th homer, the fourth-highest total in
Cincinnati history, but the moment belonged to one of the city's
most renowned athletes.
Larkin is concluding his 19th season with his hometown team,
which has declined to discuss a contract extension until after the
season. That lent poignancy to his final weekend.
He hadn't started in two weeks, relegated to the bench as the
Reds got a look at their younger infielders. As a courtesy, manager
Dave Miley decided to let him start the first and last games of the
More than 8,000 fans bought tickets at the gates, a walk-up that
swelled the crowd to 26,841 for an otherwise unremarkable game
between two losing teams.
Larkin insisted before the game that he hasn't lost his touch at
shortstop. He then showed he hasn't lost his ability to give a
crowd goose bumps.
"I pinch myself every time we play against the Reds and he's
the shortstop," Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson said. "I'm honored
to play the same position and be on the field with him. The people
of Cincinnati have been absolutely blessed to watch that guy play
baseball. It's unreal."
So was his last at-bat.
After failing to get the ball out of the infield in his first
three at-bats, leaving him in an 0-for-21 slump that coincided with
his benching, Larkin connected solidly off Frank Brooks for a solo
homer in the seventh.
He jogged around the bases with his head down, following
baseball protocol the whole way, then pointed to his father,
Robert, in the stands after he crossed the plate.
"He hasn't come to a game since all those things started
happening," Larkin said. "My mom is still not coming because
she's so upset."
The crowd stayed on its feet for an extended ovation, drawing
Larkin from the dugout for a curtain call.
"The fans were great. They've been great through this entire
ordeal," said Larkin, who has eight homers this season and 198
It was the loudest moment in a game with a few other highlights.
Juan Castro hit a solo homer and two-run double off left-hander
Dave Williams (2-3). Dunn also had a solo homer, a second-inning
shot that broke a tie with Greg Vaughn for fourth place on the
franchise list. George Foster holds the team record with 52 homers
Dunn already has set a major league mark for strikeouts in a
season. He fanned one time Friday, raising his total to 192.
Jack Wilson made Pirates history with his 200th hit, a
third-inning single to the opposite field. He became the first
Pirates player with 200 hits since Dave Parker had 215 in 1977.
Honus Wagner is the only other Pittsburgh shortstop to get 200
hits -- he had 201 in 1908.
"Before my second at-bat, I said it would be pretty special if
I got my 200th hit (to right field)," Wilson said. "That's the
extra step I took this year -- hitting the ball the other way."
Craig Wilson hit his 29th homer in the seventh inning for the
only run for Pittsburgh, which lost for the eighth time in 10
Paul Wilson (11-6) allowed only five hits in his third career
complete game, giving him victories in his last two starts. Wilson,
who made $3.5 million and is eligible for free agency, wound up a
symbol of the Reds' season.
The right-hander won his first seven decisions, helping the Reds
turn into baseball's early season surprise. He was 9-2 on July 8,
but didn't win again until last Saturday in Pittsburgh.
Pirates OF Jason Bay, a leading candidate for NL rookie of
the year, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. ... Reds closer Danny
Graves, recovering from strep throat, probably won't appear during
the series. Graves tired quickly when he threw in the bullpen
Friday. ... Castro was a late replacement for 2B D'Angelo Jimenez,
who has a sore right thumb.