Jimenez helps rally Reds past Pirates

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 25, 2004

PITTSBURGH - D'Angelo Jimenez, staying in the lineup despite a bad slump, homered and drove in three runs and the Cincinnati Reds rallied from four runs down to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-7 Saturday night.

Jimenez was in a 1-for-29 slump before getting three hits and reaching base five times as the Reds beat the Pirates for the fourth time in five games. Cincinnati was 5-13 against Pittsburgh last season.

Cincinnati added two runs in the ninth, but not without a scare. Pinch-hitter Ryan Freel, squaring to bunt with two on and none out, was struck on the left side of his face by a Jason Boyd fastball that ran inside.

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Freel dropped to the ground, his helmet flying, and lay motionless for a minute or so. Finally, he got up after several minutes and was replaced by pinch-runner Javier Valentin.

Pirates starter Kris Benson (2-1) couldn't hold the 4-0 lead, allowing seven runs and 12 hits in five innings.

Reds starter Jimmy Haynes was lifted after seven of his nine batters got hits in a four-run first, but the Reds' bullpen was much more effective. Todd Van Poppel (1-0) followed with three shutout innings and contributed an RBI single before giving up two runs in the fifth.

Ryan Wagner followed with 1 2-3 scoreless innings and Brian Reith and Todd Jones a scoreless inning each. Danny Graves, pitching for the seventh time in nine games, gave up Rob Mackowiak's homer but still got his ninth save in 11 chances and his second in as many nights.

Graves also pitched the ninth Friday to finish four scoreless innings by the bullpen in a 6-4 victory.

Down 4-0 Saturday, the Reds got a run back in the second, then scored five times in the third to go ahead 6-4. Jimenez hit his second homer of the season to start the inning, and Ken Griffey Jr. and Sean Casey followed with RBI doubles.

Benson could have gotten out of the inning by getting Van Poppel with two outs and the bases loaded, but the reliever singled to make it 5-4. Jimenez then drew a bases-loaded walk for his second RBI of the inning.

Jimenez singled with two outs in the fifth and scored on Barry Larkin's third hit, a double, to make it 7-4 in the fifth, a run that proved valuable when Pittsburgh scored twice in its half of the inning.

Raul Mondesi, Craig Wilson and Jose Castillo had RBI singles in the first, but the Pirates lost what would have been a valuable run when Randall Simon tried to score from second on Benson's single. Simon aggravated a pulled hamstring and was tagged out well short of the plate for the third out, then was lifted.

Benson was 0-for-44 until getting singles his first two times up. Benson hadn't had a hit since Aug. 20, 2002.

Notes: Haynes is 3-7 with a 5.625 ERA against the Pirates. … By winning the two games of the series, the Reds assured themselves of no worse than a split. They went 3-0-2 in their first six series. … The Reds' Austin Kearns was 0-for-18 and 1-for-22 until he doubled in the ninth against Boyd. … The Pirates have lost six of nine, with the only wins being a three-game sweep in New York last weekend.