Pirates snap Reds winning streak

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 12, 2004

CINCINNATI - A Cincinnati starter finally faltered, and the Pittsburgh Pirates took advantage.

Rob Mackowiak hit a two-run homer and Raul Mondesi drove in two runs as the Pirates roughed up Jimmy Haynes to avoid a three-game sweep with a 4-3 win over the Reds on Sunday.

''I wasn't sharp,'' said Haynes, who allowed eight hits and two walks in 4 1-3 innings in his first start since Aug. 3. Back problems forced him to miss the final two months of last season.

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''It was a battle for the first few innings. I was a little off. My first game, I guess. I'm still working out the kinks,'' Haynes said.

The loss snapped Cincinnati's four-game winning streak, all of which had featured quality starts. A rusty Haynes couldn't keep the streak going.

''(Haynes) was pitching behind in the count,'' Reds manager Dave Miley said. ''That's when he got hurt, when he was behind in the count.''

Pittsburgh swept the Reds in the three-game series to open Great American Ball Park last season.

Oliver Perez (1-0) allowed six hits and three runs in five innings in his first start of the season.

''(Perez) was outstanding,'' Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. ''He made a couple of mistakes that cost him, but he's been working on some of his mechanics, and he was able to take what he's been working on to the mound.''

Four Pittsburgh relievers combined to allow two hits in four scoreless innings.

Rookie left-hander Mike Johnston got Ken Griffey Jr. to bounce into a double play that ended the seventh inning, and Jose Mesa pitched a perfect ninth for his third save in three opportunities.

''I was trying to keep the ball down,'' Johnson said of his confrontation with Griffey. ''I was trying to bust him in and get one in on his hands.''

''I've said all along that I like our bullpen,'' McClendon said. ''We've still got a couple of things to work out down there, but we have some talented arms.''

Mondesi's RBI double into the left-field corner in the fifth gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead. Mackowiak followed with his first home run of the season to knock Haynes (0-1) out of the game.

''(Haynes) struggled with his control all day,'' Mackowiak said. ''I was hoping to get a fastball I could hit, and I got one right there.''

Austin Kearns cut Pittsburgh's lead to 4-3 with a two-run home run in the fifth, his first of the season.

''I finally ran into one, I guess,'' said Kearns, who was 3-for-21 (.143) and hadn't driven in a run before the home run. ''I've been up there trying to hit one hard. I've been fighting it out there.''

Haynes struggled through a 30-pitch first inning, but allowed only one run on Mondesi's run-scoring single.

Adam Dunn homered for a third straight game and for the fourth time this season to tie the game at 1-1 in the second for the Reds.

The Reds wrapped up a 4-2 homestand, their first over .500 since they went 5-2 last July 28-Aug. 3.

That was their first homestand after general manager Jim Bowden and manager Bob Boone were fired. They split or lost their last four homestands of the season.

''That's what you try to do at home,'' Miley said. ''I guess the old adage is win at home at play .500 on the road. It was a good homestand for us.''

Notes: Dunn has homered in three consecutive games four times in his career … Pittsburgh 3B Chris Stynes' fourth-inning single was his first hit of the season in 14 at bats. He is 1-for-16 … Kearns' homer was his first since last June 12. He didn't play after July 8 due to a shoulder injury … Pirates leadoff hitter Tike Redman went 0-for-5 to finish 1-for-14 in the series. …. Haynes walked two batters in the first inning, as many as Cincinnati's previous three starters had allowed in a combined 19 innings. Reds starters had allowed a league-low four walks in 31 innings before Sunday.