LOS ANGELES (AP) -- If Dodgers manager Grady Little was planning
a cozy, postgame dinner with his wife to celebrate their 35th
wedding anniversary, the best they could do was breakfast at one of
those all-night joints.
Ramon Martinez homered leading off the 16th inning, Jeff Kent
went 4-for-7 with a home run and Los Angeles beat Cincinnati 6-5
Tuesday night to knock the Reds out of the NL wild-card lead.The Dodgers have played 14 or more innings on five occasions
this season, and this was the first time they won. A total of 461
pitches were thrown in a game that lasted 4 hours, 54 minutes, with
the Dodgers using 20 players and the Reds 22."We did a lot of good things. It's just unfortunate that it
took us 16 innings to get the biggest thing we needed," Kent said.
"We've played good in all the extra-inning ballgames, but we've
just been stretching it out too long. You end up getting too tired,
using all your guys and not taking advantage of all your
opportunities. Ramon hasn't played a lot, so that was good for him
and good for us."It's the first time since June 13 that the Reds don't have at
least a share of the lead in the wild-card race, which San Diego
leads by a half-game over Cincinnati and Philadelphia. The Reds
remain 3½ games behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central."You can't think about anything other than winning ballgames,"
reliever Scott Schoeneweis said. "We can't worry about what St.
Louis is doing, and there are so many teams locked in for the wild
card. So it doesn't matter who's playing who -- someone is going to
gain some ground. So we just have to go out and concentrate on
winning, and the rest will take care of itself. We've got as good a
shot as anybody."Brandon Phillips was 4-for-7 with a home run and two RBI for
Cincinnati, but he grounded into an inning-ending double play with
runners at the corners in the 10th against reliever Takashi Saito.
Adam Dunn also had four hits and Rich Aurilia homered for the Reds,
who have lost five straight.Rafael Furcal homered for the Dodgers, who maintained their
three-game lead in the NL West with their fourth straight victory.Derek Lowe (12-8), who came out of last Saturday's start at
Arizona after taking a line drive off his glove hand, made his
first relief appearance since the 2004 AL division series and
pitched three innings of one-hit ball for the win."He's a hard guy to keep in one seat because he's always moving
around, so it's good to give him something to do," Kent joked.Ryan Franklin (5-7), the eighth Cincinnati pitcher, made only
one pitch -- which Martinez drove over the fence in left-center for
his second homer of the season."I wasn't trying to end it. I just wanted to get on base,"
Martinez said. "I'm not a home run hitter, so I don't even know
what was going through my mind when I hit it. I was just running
the bases. It was a long game, but we battled through it."Phillips put Cincinnati ahead 5-4 in the sixth with an RBI
single. The Dodgers tied it in the bottom half against reliever
Matt Belisle on a bases-loaded RBI single by Furcal with none out.Edwin Encarnacion, who failed to drive in a runner from third
base in each of his first three at-bats Monday night, came up with
the bases loaded in the fifth and Cincinnati trailing 4-3. Reds
pitcher Eric Milton was forced at the plate on Encarnacion's
grounder, but Ryan Freel scored the tying run on a grounder by Ken
Griffey Jr.Phillips got Cincinnati on the board in the second against Mark
Hendrickson with his 15th homer and second in two nights. Aurilia
sliced the Dodgers' lead to 4-3 in the fourth with his 19th of the
season, a two-run shot that followed a leadoff single by Griffey
that extended his hitting streak to 14 games."You can't count them out. They keep coming at you," Little
said. "They hit the ball out of the park, and they've proven
they're capable of playing games in September that mean
The Reds optioned LHP Chris Michalak to Class-A Sarasota,
one day after he gave up four runs and seven hits over four innings
in a 6-5 loss and failed to strike out a batter. OF Chris Denorfia
was recalled from Triple-A Louisville. ... Jason Repko started in
CF for Los Angeles in place of Kenny Lofton, who is 1-for-19
against Milton. Lofton pinch-ran in the eighth.