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Working overtime pays well for Reds in 8-7 win

The Associated Press

HOUSTON -Jim Brower never had chance to get nervous.

Friday, June 22, 2001

HOUSTON -Jim Brower never had chance to get nervous. ”I never got to settle in. There was something going on all the time I was out there,” Brower said after working out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning and scoring the go-ahead run in the 11th as the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Houston Astros 8-7 Thursday night.

Brower (4-5) earned the confidence of Cincinnati manager Bob Boone with his 3 1-3 innings of relief.

”Bob gave me the ball and I knew he meant that the ball was mine until the game was over,” Brower said. ”Then everything started happening with men on base, and I didn’t have time to think about it.”

The game featured an Enron Field-record nine homers. Ken Griffey Jr. singled home Brower, who also singled, with the go-ahead run in the 11th inning.

Michael Tucker homered twice for the Reds. Pitcher Danny Graves and Sean Casey also connected for Cincinnati.

Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell and Richard Hidalgo all homered in the first inning for Houston. Lance Berkman hit two homers for the Astros.

Casey also had an RBI single in the 11th, giving the Reds an 8-6 lead before Berkman hit his second homer of the game in the bottom of the inning off Brower.

Houston loaded the bases with one out in the ninth on a single, an error and an intentional walk. Brower then retired Moises Alou and Richard Hidalgo on fly balls.

”I thought we were going to get a double play in the ninth, but the ball popped out of Pokey Reese’s glove for an error. I didn’t want to lose the game that way. I wanted to pick the team up,” Brower said.

Griffey was 5-for-9 lifetime with two home runs and a double against reliever Joe Slusarski (0-1) before the tie-breaking hit.

”I wouldn’t say I had great stuff, but it was good enough,” Slusarski said. ”They got a one hopper, a bloop single and a check swing. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way.”

Biggio homered to lead off the Astros’ first against rookie Lance Davis. Julio Lugo walked on four pitches, Bagwell hit his 17th homer and Hidalgo’s 12th homer made it 4-0.

Tucker homered in the second and connected in the eighth to make it 6-all. Of his seven home runs this year, four have come against Houston.

Vinny Castilla’s RBI double upped the Astros lead to 5-2 in the third.

Graves got only the second hit of his career – both homers – in the fourth to make it 5-4. His other homer also came at Enron on May 12, 2000, against Mike Maddux.

Casey tied it with his ninth homer of the season in the fifth. Berkman’s 17th homer put Houston back on top 6-5 in the bottom half.

Houston rookie Tony McKnight went five innings and gave up five runs on eight hits in his second start of the season.

Davis, also in his second start of the season, lasted only 2 2-3 innings.

Notes: Berkman had his fifth consecutive multihit game, going 4-for-6. … Manager Larry Dierker is one short of tying Art Howe for second place on the Astros’ career victories list. Dierker is 391-327. Dierker’s .545 winning percentage is the club’s best ever … Biggio’s homer was the 24th time in his career he has led off the first inning with a home run, including the third time this year … The Reds have 15 homers in eight games against the Astros this season.