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Reds spoil opener at Citizens Bank Park

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Reds spoil opener at Citizens Bank Park

Postby WebHamster » Tue Apr 13, 2004 2:00 am

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Paul Wilson pitched 7 1/3 strong innings to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-1 victory over Philadelphia in the rainy opener of a three-game series at brand new Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies hit balls hard all day against Wilson, but continued their struggle to score runs despite a sellout home crowd of more than 41,000 for the regular season-opener at the beautiful new park.

Wilson (2-0) handled the crowd well in his second strong start of the season, allowing just one run on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He set the Phillies down in order four times, despite wet conditions and a game-time temperature of just 48 degrees.

"I think that's probably the worst conditions I ever had to pitch in," Wilson said afterwards. "Fortunately we got ahead of the guys when we had to. I threw some good sinkers and we got a lot of ground balls. Defensively we played outstanding [under those conditions]."

D'Angelo Jimenez, Adam Dunn and Ryan Freel had two hits apiece for the Reds, who have won five of their last six since an Opening Day loss.

At the other end of the spectrum are the Phillies, who have dropped five in a row to fall to 1-6 on the season. They have been outscored 22-10 in the last five games, which included a three-game sweep at the hands of the Florida Marlins over the weekend.

The poor start is the worst for Philadelphia since it opened the 1987 season by dropping eight of the first nine games.

"Everybody in here is frustrated," Phillies starter Randy Wolf acknowledged. "Everybody wants to play better, and sometimes that works against you. We just have to get out of it by winning."

Wolf (0-1) took the loss in this one, surrendering four runs on seven hits and three walks over just five innings. He went only 5 1/3 innings in his first start of the season, a no-decision in Pittsburgh last Wednesday that the Phillies ended up winning.

Bobby Abreu hit the first official home run at the new ball park, a solo shot to tie the game for Philadelphia in the bottom of the first inning, but the Phillies didn't score after that.

Cincinnati regained its one-run lead on an RBI single by Freel with one out in the second. Freel's chopper up the middle scored Dunn, who had doubled earlier in the frame.

The Reds nearly got another run in the third inning when Ken Griffey Jr. stroked a one-out offering from Wolf to deep right field, but the ball was slowed down by a swirling wind and Abreu caught it near the warning track.

Griffey then doubled home a run with no outs in the fifth inning to give Cincinnati a 3-1 advantage. Sean Casey made it 4-1 two batters later with a sac fly to left field that scored Barry Larkin.

Wilson set the side down in order in two of the next three innings, but the Phillies put runners at first and second with one out in the eighth inning to chase the Cincinnati starter.

Phil Norton relieved Wilson and retired Abreu and Jim Thome to escape trouble.

"We hit some balls hard at guys, but we just aren't getting many breaks right now," Thome said.

Danny Graves then tossed a perfect ninth for his fourth save. He has saved four of Cincinnati's five wins this season.

Jimenez opened the new ball park with a double to lead off the first inning, and later scored on a Wolf wild pitch to give the Reds an early 1-0 lead.
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