Error gives Reds wild win over Cards

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2001

The Associated Press


Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Email newsletter signup

ST. LOUIS – After the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals combined for six home runs, the game was decided on a throwing error.

Alex Ochoa led off the game with a homer and later scored the go-ahead run when reliever Gene Stechschulte threw the ball into right field on a sacrifice, in the Reds’ 10-9 victory Tuesday night.

”They got a few breaks,” Stechschulte said. ”They got more breaks. It’s over now.”

Ochoa hit a leadoff double in the ninth off Stechschulte (0-4), whose throw to first on a sacrifice by pinch hitter Brady Clark was out of the reach of second baseman Fernando Vina and rolled down the right-field line. Vina, who tied his career high with five RBIs, was spun around on the play and was down for a few minutes before staying in the game.

”I jumped out to get the ball and my back leg was up in the air,” Vina said. ”That’s when he, bam, just hit me right there. I banged my calf up pretty good, but hopefully I’ll be all right.”

Ken Griffey Jr., who homered earlier, added an RBI single off Steve Kline in the ninth. He has homered three times in 11 games since coming off the disabled list.

”I’m starting to feel more comfortable at the plate,” Griffey said. ”I got a chance to talk to Big Mac and he said it’s like going through spring training all over again.”

Ochoa and Barry Larkin led off the game with consecutive home runs for the Reds, who connected four times off Andy Benes and led 8-4 after six innings. Ochoa hit Benes’ first pitch over the left-field wall for his sixth homer of the season and two pitches later Larkin hit his second.

”I was looking for a pitch to drive and it was a good one to drive, and that’s why I swung,” Ochoa said. ”Other than that I kind of like to work the count, but he gave me a good pitch.”

Dmitri Young also homered for the Reds, while Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols homered for the Cardinals. Edmonds’ 13th homer off Scott Sullivan (2-1) tied it at 8 in the eighth inning and Pujols’ 21st homer tied a team rookie record set in 1953.

Vina, who entered the game with 23 RBIs, had a two-run single in the fourth, a two-run triple in the seventh and an RBI single in the ninth.

Benes lasted 5 2-3 innings, giving up seven runs on seven hits as his ERA climbed to 6.27. He’s allowed 20 homers, tied for the major league lead, in 83 1-3 innings.

”Our team played way too hard to be on the short end,” Benes said. ”That’s my fault.”

In the sixth, Jason LaRue had a go-ahead RBI single off Benes, Pokey Reese hit a two-run double off Mike James and pinch hitter Michael Tucker had a run-scoring single off Jason Christiansen.

Danny Graves worked the ninth for his 15th save in 20 chances. The Reds have won four of six and are 21-20 on the road, although they’re 8-26 at home.

”We’ve talked a lot about it and it’s just been weird,” Ochoa said. ”There’s some things in baseball you can’t explain.”

Notes: The Reds led off the game with consecutive homers for the first time since Sept. 9, 1996, when Thomas Howard and Hal Morris connected against the Dodgers in Cincinnati. … Larkin has 2,048 hits, tied with Johnny Bench for third on the team’s career list. … Placido Polanco had three singles and is 21-for-46 (.457) during an 11-game hitting streak that ties his career best set in 1998. … Pujols homered for the first time since June 12 to tie the mark set by Ray Jablonski in 1953.