Reds fail to get a pair of W's

President sends father for first pitch, Pirates flatten Cincinnati

Posted: Tuesday, April 01, 2003

CINCINNATI -- Ken Griffey Jr. made history with his first-inning double -- the first hit at Great American Ball Park. With a chance to get the Reds back into the game, he struck out.

That's how things are going at Cincinnati's new park, where everyone but the home team is having fun.

Reggie Sanders, Kenny Lofton and Jason Kendall homered in the second inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates ruined the Reds' inaugural game at their new ballpark with a 10-1 victory Monday.

''It was disappointing,'' said shortstop Barry Larkin, who caught a ceremonial first pitch from former President George Bush. ''One game or not, it's still opening day. We got beat up out there. It's not fun.''

All of the fun for the capacity crowd came in the first inning, when Griffey doubled for the ballpark's first official hit.

The crowd was on its feet again the next time he came to bat, with the bases loaded and the Pirates ahead 6-1 in the third. Kris Benson went to a full count, then got Griffey to swing wildly at a high, 92 mph fastball.

''I just swung at a bad pitch, plain and simple,'' said Griffey, who was 1-for-4. ''He got the ball up and I chased it. Those things happen on opening day.''

A bunch of newcomers made things happen for the Pirates, who signed Sanders and Lofton during spring training to upgrade their outfield. Sanders' two-run homer started a six-run rally in the second.

Sanders, a key member of the Reds' 1995 playoff team, was stunned and thrilled to hit the first homer in their new place.

''When it's your first at-bat of the season, you don't expect to hit a home run,'' Sanders said. ''It's all about timing, being in the right place at the right time. I enjoyed my time here, and getting the opportunity to open their new stadium and hit the first homer is very exciting.''

The crowd of 42,343 waved flags during a patriotic pregame program, then bundled together on a 53-degree afternoon and watched the NL's worst offense last season have its way with the Cincinnati pitching staff.

The Pirates batted around in the second against Jimmy Haynes. After Sanders' homer, Haynes walked Benson before giving up a three-run homer to Lofton. Kendall's solo shot came five pitches later.

''One really bad inning,'' lamented Haynes, who had never started an opener. ''It was tough to go out there and give up three home runs in one inning.''

By then, the park was filled with catcalls and the home team was headed for its third straight loss in the new place. The Reds have been outscored 19-3 while losing two exhibitions to Cleveland and the regular-season opener.

Benson gave up three hits and three walks in 6 1-3 innings to win his first opening-day start. Pokey Reese's error at second helped the Reds load the bases in the third, and Benson walked Austin Kearns to force in Cincinnati's lone run -- unearned, at that.

Benson also had three strikeouts, the biggest one against Griffey.

Dodgers 8, Diamondbacks 0

PHOENIX -- Hideo Nomo pitched a four-hitter and the Los Angeles Dodgers handed Randy Johnson his first opening-day loss, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-0 Monday.

Brian Jordan improved his career average against Johnson to .333 by going 2-for-3 against him with a home run and three RBIs. Paul Lo Duca had a two-out single off Johnson in the seventh, and Shawn Green had a pair of doubles.

Nomo struck out seven and walked one in his eighth career shutout, his first since 2001. Johnson allowed five runs, three earned, on nine hits in 6 2-3 innings.

Cubs 15, Mets 2

NEW YORK -- Corey Patterson had two homers and seven RBIs in the most-lopsided opener in the major leagues since the Chicago White Sox beat up the St. Louis Browns 17-3 on April 17, 1951.

In his first start after leaving Atlanta to sign with the Mets, Tom Glavine gave up five runs, eight hits and four walks in 3 2-3 innings. Art Howe lost his debut as the Mets' manager.

Dusty Baker won his first game as Cubs' manager and Sammy Sosa stayed stuck at 499 career home runs, hitting an RBI single and drawing three walks. Winner Kerry Wood allowed two runs and two hits in five inning on a blustery afternoon, when it was 39 degrees at gametime.

Expos 10, Braves 2

ATLANTA -- Greg Maddux, 6-0 with a 1.66 ERA in seven previous opening-day starts, gave up four runs in the first inning. The four-time NL Cy Young Award winner lasted just seven innings, giving up five runs -- four earned -- and nine hits.

Jeff Liefer had four RBIs and Orlando Cabrera hit a two-run homer for the Expos -- who play just 59 games in Montreal this year -- with 22 ''home'' games shifted to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Tony Armas Jr. allowed one run and five hits in six innings.

Phillies 8, Marlins 5

MIAMI -- Jim Thome doubled on the first pitch he saw, David Bell singled in his first at-bat and Kevin Millwood took a shutout into the sixth inning. as Philadelphia built an 8-0 lead.

Thome, whose $85 million, six-year contract was the largest of the offseason, went 3-for-4 with a walk in his first game after leaving Cleveland. Bell went 2-for-4 with a walk and scored three times, and Millwood won by allowing three runs -- two earned -- and four hits in six-plus innings.

Loser Josh Beckett lasted 2 2-3 innings, allowing seven runs -- two earned -- five hits and four walks in 2 2-3 innings. Ivan Rodriguez, making his Marlins' debut, hit a two-run homer.

Cardinals 11, Brewers 9

ST. LOUIS -- Scott Rolen capped a six-run, eighth-inning rally from a 7-5 deficit with a three-run homer. Milwaukee, in its first game under manager Ned Yost, led 4-0.

Kerry Robinson hit a go-ahead single in the eighth on a drag bunt off loser Mike DeJean.

Russ Springer got the win, and with Jason Isringhausen on the disabled list, Steve Kline got two outs for the save.

Giants 5, Padres 2

SAN DIEGO -- Benito Santiago and J.T. Snow homered on consecutive pitches in the ninth off loser Clay Condrey for the defending NL champions as Felipe Alou won his first game as San Francisco's manager.

Barry Bonds, who won a record fifth MVP last year, was 0-for-3 with two intentional walks and two strikeouts. Felix Rodriguez pitched a perfect eighth for the win. With Robb Nen going on the disabled list before the game, Tim Worrell worked the ninth for the save.

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