PITTSBURGH (AP) -- D'Angelo Jimenez must have been listening when Cincinnati manager Dave Miley said the best way to get out of a
slump is to keep playing, not give in by resting for a day or two.
Jimenez, staying in the lineup despite a bad slump, homered and
drove in three runs and the Reds rallied from four runs down to
beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-7 on Saturday night.
Jimenez was 1-for-29 before getting three hits and reaching base
five times as the Reds beat the Pirates for the fourth time in five
games. Cincinnati was 5-11 against Pittsburgh last season.
"I was fighting every at-bat, to take a walk or just hit the
ball," Jimenez said. "I think I'm out of the slump and we won and
tomorrow is another day. We were behind 4-0 to a pretty good
pitcher (Kris Benson), but we just kept battling."
Cincinnati added two runs in the ninth, but not without a scare.
Pinch-hitter Ryan Freel, squaring to bunt with two on and none out,
was struck on the left side of his face by Jason Boyd's fastball
that ran inside.
Freel, his helmet flying, dropped to the ground and lay
motionless for a minute or so. Finally, he got up after several
minutes and was replaced by pinch-runner Javier Valentin. Freel was
seen clutching an ice bag to his face after the game, but Pirates
doctors found nothing wrong and didn't order any precautionary
Benson (2-1) couldn't hold the 4-0 lead, allowing seven runs and
12 hits in five innings in an effort that baffled manager Lloyd
"It was puzzling," he said. "His stuff in the first inning
was electric. He's throwing 96 (mph), hitting his spots, he's
snapping his breaking ball. But we score four and there seemed to
be a little letup."
Reds starter Jimmy Haynes never did get going, allowing seven of
his nine batters to get hits in the four-run first, but the Reds'
bullpen was much more effective. Todd Van Poppel (1-0) followed
with three shutout innings and contributed an RBI single before
giving up two runs in the fifth.
"Four runs and seven hits, they jumped on him (Haynes) pretty
quick, but these guys battled back," Miley said. "All the pitches
he made were up, even his 0-2 pitches., Obviously, he's got to make
better pitches than that."
The bullpen did. Ryan Wagner followed with 1 2-3 scoreless
innings and Brian Reith and Todd Jones a scoreless inning each.
Danny Graves, pitching for the seventh time in nine games, gave up
Rob Mackowiak's homer in the ninth but still got his ninth save in
11 chances and his second in two nights.
Graves also pitched the ninth Friday to finish four scoreless
innings by the bullpen in a 6-4 victory. Reds relievers have
permitted three runs in 12 innings so far in the series.
Down 4-0 Saturday, the Reds got a run back in the second, then
scored five times in the third to go ahead 6-4. Jimenez hit his
second homer of the season on Benson's first pitch of the inning,
and Ken Griffey Jr. and Sean Casey followed with RBI doubles.
Benson could have gotten out of the inning by getting Van Poppel
with two outs and the bases loaded, but the reliever singled to
make it 5-4. Jimenez then drew a bases-loaded walk for his second
RBI of the inning.
"They hit every mistake I made," Benson said. "I couldn't get
them to miss a pitch. I'm capable of pitching better than this. But
we (pitchers) are going to have our ups and downs, just like the
Jimenez singled with two outs in the fifth and scored on Barry
Larkin's third hit, a double, to make it 7-4 in the fifth, a run
that proved valuable when Pittsburgh scored twice in its half of
Raul Mondesi, Craig Wilson and Jose Castillo had RBI singles in
the first, but the Pirates lost what would have been a valuable run
when Randall Simon tried to score from second on Benson's single.
Simon aggravated a pulled hamstring and was tagged out well short
of the plate for the third out, then was lifted.
Benson was 0-for-44 until getting singles his first two times
up. Benson hadn't had a hit since Aug. 20, 2002.
Haynes is 3-7 with a 5.625 ERA against the Pirates. ... By
winning the two games of the series, the Reds assured themselves of
no worse than a split. They went 3-0-2 in their first six series.
... The Reds' Austin Kearns was 0-for-18 and 1-for-22 until he
doubled in the ninth against Boyd. ... The Pirates have lost six of
nine, with the only wins being a three-game sweep in New York last
weekend. ... Van Poppel was 6-for-40 with one RBI in his career
before getting his infield hit.