CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Danny Graves got the ground ball he was
Graves worked out of a ninth-inning jam, getting Scott Rolen to
bounce into a game-ending double play as the Cincinnati Reds
held on for a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in the
opener of a doubleheader.
The Reds' closer, Graves retired J.D. Drew on a grounder to
shortstop to start the ninth but Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols
reached on infield hits.
Graves went to a 3-2 count on Rolen, who hit a bouncer to third
baseman Aaron Boone. Boone stepped on third and threw to first
to complete the double play, helping Graves secure his 30th
"I had those guys diving for everything," Graves said. "Three
weeks ago they would have found holes."
Graves joined John Franco as the only Reds in club history to
save 30 games in three straight seasons. Franco accomplished
the feat from 1987-89.
"The only goals I set are to be healthy and consistent," Graves
said. "If you are, then the numbers will be there. I'm like
most of the guys in there. If they go 0-for-5 and we win,
they're happy. If I give up five runs and win, I'm happy."
Rolen, who hit a solo homer in the third, hit into double plays
in his final three at-bats.
Chris Reitsma (5-9) allowed one run in 3 2/3 innings in relief
of ineffective starter Brian Moehler for the win. Reitsma was
optioned to Class AAA Louisville of the International League
following the game.
"We got good plays and good pitching," Reds manager Bob Boone
said. "We got good pitching from (Chris) Reitsma, then rewarded
him by sending him out."
Sean Casey, Kelly Stinnett and Todd Walker had RBI singles in a
five-run second inning for the Reds, who pulled within 6 1/2
games of the first-place Cards in the National League Central.
St. Louis rookie Jasom Simontacchi (9-5) surrendered five runs
and hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Coming of an ineffective outing last Wednesday at Arizona,
Moehler fell behind in this one in the second when Simontacchi
helped his own cause with an RBI single.
Simontacchi won his last two outings, but the Reds got to him in
the bottom of the second.
Rookie Austin Kearns led off with a single and Adam Dunn moved
him to third with a double. Casey followed with his run-scoring
single to tie it and Russell Branyan walked to load the bases.
Stinnett kept things going with his RBI single. Moehler then
hit a bouncer to Gold Glove third baseman Rolen. But Rolen
threw wild to the plate, allowing two runs to score. Walker's
RBI single extended the lead to 5-1.
Simontacchi settled down after the rough second, scattering just
two singles over his final 4 1/3 innings.
The Cards quickly got back into the game in the third as Pujols
led off with his 30th homer and Rolen followed with his 20th.
Pujols joined Ray Jablonski as the only Cards to drive in 100
runs in their first two seasons. Jablonski had 112 RBI in 1953
and 104 the following year.
Following the homers, Moehler retired Tino Martinez on a
grounder to second before being relieved by Reitsma.
Reitsma was greeted rudely, surrendering consecutive doubles to
Miguel Cairo and Mike DiFelice that pulled the Cards within 5-4.
DiFelice went to third on his double after an error on center
fielder Ken Griffey Jr.
But Reitsma averted further trouble, striking out Simontacchi
and Fernando Vina.
In the fourth, the Cards put two runners on with one out but
Rolen bounced into an inning-ending double play.
Rolen also grounded into a double play in the seventh and Vina
hit into one into the eighth.