Reds overcome deficit, firings

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2003

CINCINNATI - A July fade left Cincinnati Reds players expecting some moves, but nothing like what finally happened.

They sat at their lockers in stunned silence Monday after chief operating officer John Allen told them he had just fired their general manager, manager and two coaches.

Then they went out and won a game with another late comeback, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 in 10 innings before a tiny crowd that showed up for a rainout makeup game.

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Once they got done hopping in celebration, they went back to thinking about their franchise's whirlwind day.

''It was a big shock,'' said starter Ryan Dempster, one of manager Bob Boone's most outspoken critics. ''Even if you anticipate it, when it does happen, it takes a little bit of a hit emotionally.''

The players weren't expecting anything as they showed up and dressed for an afternoon game. About two hours before the first pitch, they learned that Boone, general manager Jim Bowden and coaches Tim Foli and Tom Robson had been fired.

''It was a little somber in here,'' catcher Kelly Stinnett said. ''Guys were just letting it soak in.''

They didn't seem distracted in the first inning, when they batted around for a 4-1 lead. Jose Guillen's two-run homer off Randy Wolf put them ahead.

Defense and poor starting pitching have been the team's downfall, and both played a major role in the Phillies' comeback. Dempster walked two with two outs in the fourth, third baseman Aaron Boone - the manager's son - committed the team's 100th error, and Marlon Byrd singled home two runs.

Dempster walked two more with two outs in the fifth, and Jimmy Rollins doubled home two runs for a 5-4 lead that brought catcalls from the few thousand fans in the stands.

With the Phillies' bullpen struggling, manager Larry Bowa decided to let Wolf start the eighth. He gave up a leadoff homer to Casey that tied it.

, but Bowa had no second thoughts about his choice of pitchers.

''Our bullpen has been completely exhausted,'' Bowa said. ''Not with the way the bullpen the way it is - it was a no-brainer.''

Scott Williamson (5-3) pitched a perfect 10th, and the Reds loaded the bases with none out in the bottom of the inning on a single and a pair of walks from Terry Adams (1-4). Stinnett then singled over a drawn-in infield, the Reds' 10th game-ending hit of the season.

''It was hard,'' said Byrd, who extended his hitting streak to nine games. ''We just needed another run or two. It just didn't click for us.''

The Reds did their customary on-field group hop after a game-winning hit, then went back to the clubhouse and got back to reality. Triple-A manager Dave Miley will join the team on Tuesday as interim manager. The Reds plan to pick a new general manager and manager after the World Series.

''Coming into this season, we knew this was a big year for us as an organization,'' Dempster said. ''We haven't done our job as players.''

Notes: The Reds sold 29,200 tickets for the originally scheduled game. … The Phillies' bullpen has given up 14 earned runs in its last 14 2-3 innings, a span of four consecutive losses. … Miley becomes the 57th manager in Reds history. He has been the Reds' manager at Triple-A since 1996. … Dempster has walked a staff-high 70 in 115 2-3 innings. … The Reds lead the majors with 23 wins in their last at-bat. They have 47 wins overall.