Dunn hits the ball out of the park

By Joe Kay The Associated Press

CINCINNATI – Adam Dunn hit a 479-foot homer that bounced out of the ballpark, and followed with a disputed tiebreaking single in the eighth inning last night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 6-5 victory over the winless Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates arrived in town at 1:40 a.m. after being swept in Milwaukee, and didn’t fare well on limited sleep. Pittsburgh fell to 0-4 for the first time since 1994 and only the seventh time in franchise history.

Manager Jim Tracy was ejected by crew chief Gary Darling after arguing Dunn’s decisive single, which initially was ruled an out.

With runners on first and second, Dunn hit a sinking liner off Mike Gonzalez (0-1) that center fielder Chris Duffy dived and caught on the short hop, bringing home the go-ahead run. The umpires initially made no indication, and third base umpire Bruce Dreckman finally raised his arm to signal an out.

The Pirates left the field while the Reds argued and the umpires huddled. Darling, who had a clear view of the play from first base, then overruled the call. Replays showed the ball bounced before it was caught.

Dunn also provided the game’s most dramatic swing, hitting the fourth-longest homer in Great American Ball Park’s four seasons. His solo shot in the sixth off John Grabow landed on a concourse by the smokestacks in center field.

According to Reds employees, the ball bounced out of the park and hit a car driving on a street. The car stopped, a person got out and retrieved the ball, and the car drove away.

Dunn has hit the only home run that left Great American on the fly – a 535-foot shot in 2004 that cleared the batter’s eye and landed on the street, then came to rest on a piece of driftwood in the Ohio River.

Ken Griffey singled home a run in the first inning, the 1,539th RBI of his career. Griffey is one behind Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell for 30th on the career list.

Left-hander Brandon Claussen gave up Joe Randa’s three-run homer and hit three batters in five innings. Former Pirate Rick White (1-0) got the win despite giving up Ryan Doumit’s two-out, two-run homer that tied it at 5 in the eighth inning.

David Weathers pitched the ninth for his second save in as many chances.

The Reds sold only 13,887 tickets for a matchup of the NL Central’s bottom two teams last season – they finished a combined 60 games out – on a cool, rainy evening.

The game amounted to a homecoming for Sean Casey, who was traded to the Pirates last December after eight years in Cincinnati.

The popular first baseman got an ovation from the few thousand fans in the stands when he came to bat in the first inning. Casey removed his batting helmet and waved it to the crowd before fouling out to catcher Javier Valentin.

Casey went 0-for-4 overall and was hit on the arm by a pitch. Also, he got lost the first time he walked through the double doors into the visitors’ clubhouse, a place he’d never visited.