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Bucs Edge Reds In Ninth


The Cincinnati Reds finally hit a bump in the road.

Brian Giles' two-run double in the ninth off Cincinnati relief ace Scott Williamson rallied the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 5-4 victory Wednesday night after the Reds had gone ahead in the top of the inning.

It was only the 11th loss in the last 44 road games for Cincinnati, which missed a chance to move past Houston and seize the NL Central lead. The Astros lost in Atlanta 8-5.

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Game Summary

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  • Mike Williams (2-2) got the victory despite allowing Dmitri Young's RBI double in the top of the ninth. Williamson (10-5) blew his sixth save in 22 chances and took the loss.

    "That's a tough one. The guys battled back and got the lead, but we just didn't hold it," Reds manager Jack McKeon said. "That's one of the rare times we didn't hold it."

    The Pirates were 1-50 when trailing in the ninth when Williamson walked Abraham Nunez and Adrian Brown sacrificed him to second. Pinch-hitter Al Martin walked.

    Giles, 0-for-3 in the game and 6-for-36 (.167) this month, then lined a double down the right-field line, scoring Martin with the winning run just ahead of first baseman Hal Morris' relay throw.

    "I've been terrible for five days, so that made it better," Giles said. "He's a tough pitcher. He can throw it up there 95 mph or he can drop that split-finger pitch in on you. He kept the ball down on us the ther night, but he left that pitch up."

    Martin ran through third base coach Jack Lind's stop sign to score.

    "Emotion kind of takes over there," Martin said. "I knew it was going to be close. I knew it was going to be bang-bang at the plate."

    Williamson struck out Ed Sprague and Warren Morris on Monday to preserve the Reds' 4-2 victory, but struggled with his control Wednesday.

    "When you fall behind on every hitter, it's not going to be a good night," said Williamson, who leads NL rookies with 10 wins and 16 saves. "This was pretty bad. It's happened to me a couple of times in the past, but then I got on a good roll."

    The Reds, who had won seven of nine, still lead the majors with a 38-17 road record.

    "It's going to happen to you once in a while," Hal Morris said. "We're where we wanted to be coming out of spring training, in a position to make a run at playoff spot."

    Greg Vaughn singled in a run in the Reds' first, then singled to start the fourth against Jason Schmidt and later came home on Aaron Boone's force-play grounder to make it 2-0.

    The Pirates, held to seven hits while being outscored 10-3 in the first two games of the series, tied it in their half of the fourth on Kevin Young's leadoff double and RBI singles by Ed Sprague and Joe Oliver.

    The Reds regained the lead in the sixth on Michael Tucker's leadoff triple and Morris' run-scoring single. Morris made a spot start at first for Sean Casey, whose average has dropped from .374 to .346 during a 12-for-62 slump.

    Reds starter Ron Villone took the 3-2 lead into the seventh, but was lifted following Mike Benjamin's double and pinch-hitter Dale Sveum's single. Reliever Scott Sullivan's wild pitch scored Benjamin wth the tying run before Danny Graves, the Reds' fourth pitcher of the inning, struck out Kevin Young with two on and two outs.

    Benjamin was activated off the disabled list earlier in the day.

    Schmidt allowed eight hits, three runs, walked one and struck out four in seven innings. Villone gave up three runs, two earned, and seven hits in six-plus innings in his first career start against the Pirates.

    Notes

  • Reds SS Barry Larkin didn't start for only the third time this season but the second time since Sunday.
  • The Pirates went 8-5 on their longest homestand of the season, losing only one of four series.
  • Reds CF Mike Cameron, who singled to start the first, went 12-for-26 (.461) on the road trip.
  • The Pirates released OF Turner Ward, who hit .209 in 49 games before going on the disabled list with a sore right knee, and designated INF-OF Freddy Garcia for assignment. .... The Reds are 16-11 in games decided in the final at-bat.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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