Rogers, Twins nip slumping Reds, 2-1

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 26, 2003

SARASOTA, Fla. - Kenny Rogers held Cincinnati's slumping offense to two hits in five innings during his Minnesota debut, and the Twins beat the Reds 2-1 on Tuesday.

Rogers, 38, signed a $2 million, one-year contract on March 13 and had a spot in the rotation reserved. The left-hander pitched in two minor league games before appearing with the Twins for the first time on Tuesday.

He held Cincinnati to a pair of singles and two walks in five innings, striking out two. Rogers threw all of his pitches and looked sharp the first time he faced major leaguers.

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''We knew when we signed him that he had worked so hard,'' pitching coach Rick Anderson said. ''He wasn't just sitting around saying, 'Am I going to pitch?' He was in such good shape.

''We were real excited to see what we did today.''

Rogers had been looking forward to his first appearance against major leaguers.

''I know that was something that was needed,'' he said. ''Not that the other work is not quality, but it's not the same. When you get into a 'A' game, you get the extra adrenaline and nervousness. It's good, so you can get adjusted to when the season starts.''

The Reds' run came in the sixth off Brent Hoard, who gave up Barry Larkin's double and Felipe Lopez's RBI single. The Reds managed only four hits off three pitchers as they lost their fifth in a row. They've scored two or fewer runs in six of the last nine games.

Chris Gomez had an RBI single in the fifth and Tommy Watkins singled home another run in the eighth for the Twins.

Notes: Reds manager Bob Boone got permission to use the designated hitter for the fourth straight home game. When the Reds played Toronto in an AL park on Saturday, they let their pitchers bat instead of using the DH. … The Reds got to the 25-man opening day limit by putting INF Juan Castro on the 15-day DL with an inflamed knee. … The Reds also sold the minor league contract of OF Benny Agbayani to Kansas City for an undisclosed amount. … After playing his first game in the outfield on Monday, Larkin was back at shortstop.