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Reds Duke It Out With Rockies

Already fading and frustrated, the Colorado Rockies became fighting mad.

Colorado lost its 10th straight game Saturday as Dante Bichette and Pokey Reese homered to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a brawl-marred, 7-4 victory over the Rockies.

The game turned ugly in the seventh when Reds reliever Scott Sullivan hit Brian Hunter with a pitch near his head minutes after Ken Griffey Jr. was plunked in the thigh by Stan Belinda.

Hunter swung wildly after charging the mound, and the two were quickly engulfed by their teammates.

"I told myself ahead of time that if it hit me down low, I was just going to go to first," Hunter said. "If it was anywhere up towards the head, I was going to take my helmet and try to hit him between his eyes.

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  • "I'm not a violent person, but when you start dealing with people's careers, it's pretty serious. It really crossed my mind to go with my helmet and try to get hit him and maybe knock an eyeball out or something."

    Sullivan said Hunter was trying to bunt, making the ball look closer to his head than it really was.

    "The ball ran in on him and hit him, and then he came out and tried to discuss things with me," Sullivan said. "If you look at my stats the last couple of years, I hit a lot of people. I throw inside and that one got away from me."

    Sullivan's one-pitch performance came in relief of Scott Williamson (3-6), who pitched a career-high six innings in just his second major league start.

    "Relievers have to enter the game in the eighth or ninth and put the game away. As a starter you try to keep momentum on your side," Williamson said.

    Momentum has been nonexistent for the Rockies since their last victory on July 3. Their losing streak is second-longest in team history. Colorado lost 13 straight during its inaugural 1993 season and had a nine-game skid last year.

    "It's hard to talk about this every day," Rockies manager Buddy Bell said. "The fact of the matter is we have to start making some adjustments. It's affected us to the point where we can't seem to get off the mat."

    Bell was ejected after the brawl along with Hunter, Sullivan and Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who questioned why he was singled out among dozens of players.

    "He did a birdman flying into the pile," crew chief Dana DeMuth said of Helton. "He took a run and a leap over the top of the pile. That's not going in and trying to break anything up. That's just being careless."

    When asked if he felt he was reckless, Helton said, "No comment."

    The scuffle dated to Thursday night when Griffey was hit in the back and Colorado star Larry Walker was hit three innings later. Walker played peacemaker Saturday by restraining Griffey and Sean Casey.

    "Griffey is someone we just have to protect," Bichette said. "There were some hard feelings, but we have to protect Griffey."

    Cincinnati, the only team to sweep a series at Coors Field this season, broke a 3-3 tie against Masato Yoshii (4-10) in the sixth on RBI singles by Michael Tucker and Benito Santiago.

    Bichette, who spent seven seasons with Colorado, added a two-run homer off Belinda one of players he was traded for last winter after Griffey was plunked in the seventh.

    "I enjoyed the home run," Bichette said. "I enjoyed every aspect of it."

    The output was enough to give Williamson his first career victory as a starter. He gave up three runs and five hits with four walks and three strikeouts.

    Danny Graves got hi15th save. Jeff Cirillo homered in the Rockies ninth.

    Chris Stynes went 3-for-5 for the Reds and finished the series 8-for-13 with six runs. His career average at Coors Field rose to .531 (34-for-64).

    Colorado took its only lead of the series in third on an RBI double by Cirillo and a run-scoring single by Walker.


  • After the game, the Rockies placed LHP Scott Karl on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lower back. No roster move was expected until Sunday.
  • A lineup shakeup did little to jump-start Colorado's offense. Cirillo moved from cleanup to second, and Jeffrey Hammonds moving from sixth to fourth.
  • Griffey had reached in five straight plate appearances before fouling out in the first.
  • Williamson threw his 14th wild pitch of the season, tying him for the major league lead. The Cincinnati record is 19 by Jim Maloney in 1963 and 1965.
  • Walker needs one more hit for 1,500 in his career.

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