Womack#039;s home run sinks Reds, 6-3

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 23, 2002

PHOENIX -- Tony Womack wasn't trying to knock the cover off the ball. At 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, he can't afford to.

''You can't go up there thinking, because then he's got you where he wants you,'' the Arizona shortstop said after his tiebreaking two-run homer in the fifth inning sent the Diamondbacks to a 6-3 victory over Cincinnati on Thursday night.

Womack pulled his third homer of the season into the right-field stands to make it 5-3 and extend his hitting streak to 11 games as Arizona swept the six-game season series with the Reds.

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''That was not a coincidence,'' manager Bob Brenly said. ''Tony is the engine. He starts everything when he gets on base.''

Steve Finley added a solo shot, and four relievers combined for four scoreless innings in support of starter Miguel Batista (7-7) to help the Diamondbacks win for the 11th time in 12 games.

Matt Williams tied it at 3 with a two-run single in the fourth, and scored on Chad Moeller's single in the sixth after hitting a double.

''I get a lot of opportunities, given the guys that are in front of me,'' Williams said. ''If they don't hit it out of the ballpark, they're on base a lot.''

Batista improved to 3-0 in six starts, allowing six hits and four walks in five innings. He also hit a batter and balked.

''He is by far the most difficult guy on this team to catch, just because his stuff is that good,'' Moeller said. ''I mean, the velocity he throws at and the way his ball moves, it's flat-out impressive what he throws up there.''

Batista allowed three runs -- two on a triple by Jason LaRue and the other on a single by Reds right-hander Chris Reitsma (4-9), who dropped to 1-9 in his last 11 starts.

Mike Koplove pitched two innings of relief, Eddie Oropesa and Mike Fetters worked the eighth, and Byung-Hyun Kim earned his franchise-record 31st save in the ninth. Gregg Olson had 30 saves in 1998, Arizona's first season.

Reitsma made his first start for Cincinnati since July 20. He was optioned to Triple-A Louisville on July 31 and recalled Tuesday. Reitsma, the only Reds pitcher to throw a complete game this season, allowed five runs on six hits and two walks.

Batista weathered three bases-loaded situations.

He threw 35 pitches in the second inning, when he walked Austin Kearns to lead off, then walked Reggie Taylor and LaRue with two out before striking out Reitsma.

In the third, Batista gave up singles to Todd Walker and Aaron Boone and walked Adam Dunn. With none out, Batista struck out Kearns and got Sean Casey to ground into an inning-ending double play as Womack scooped up a grounder, stepped on second and threw to first.

Another force-assist double play -- this one by Williams at third -- bailed out Batista in the fifth.

''We had a lot of missed opportunities tonight, myself included,'' Casey said. ''I blew up my bat. He threw me a cutter and kind of got a double-play ball out there. You've got to take advantage of those opportunities and we weren't able to.''

In the fourth, Russell Branyan reached first when Batista, covering the bag, dropped a throw from Erubiel Durazo. Taylor followed with a double and LaRue tripled off the center field wall, then scored on Reitsma's RBI single to make it 3-1.

''They outpitched us and outplayed us,'' Red manager Bob Boone said.

Reitsma retired the first six batters, but Finley ended that with his 20th homer, a high drive that landed in the corner of the swimming pool area in right center leading off the third.

Notes: The Diamondbacks have 81 wins and need one more for their fourth straight winning season. … Finley made a diving catch to rob Casey of a hit in the seventh. … Kearns, a rookie, had a fifth-inning single for his second nine-game hitting streak. … The Reds have lost 11 straight to Arizona, but lead the overall series 19-18. … Branyan is in an 0-for-22 skid since hitting three homers at San Diego on Aug. 4. The Associated Press