DENVER (AP) -- Already fading and frustrated, the Colorado
Rockies became fighting mad. Colorado lost its 10th straight game Saturday as Dante Bichette
and Pokey Reese homered to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a
brawl-marred, 7-4 victory over the Rockies.
The game turned ugly in the seventh when Reds reliever Scott
Sullivan hit Brian Hunter with a pitch near his head minutes after
Ken Griffey Jr. was plunked in the thigh by Stan Belinda.
Hunter swung wildly after charging the mound, and the two were
quickly engulfed by their teammates.
"I told myself ahead of time that if it hit me down low, I was
just going to go to first," Hunter said. "If it was anywhere up
towards the head, I was going to take my helmet and try to hit him
between his eyes.
"I'm not a violent person, but when you start dealing with
people's careers, it's pretty serious. It really crossed my mind to
go with my helmet and try to hit him and maybe knock an eyeball
out or something."
Sullivan said Hunter was trying to bunt, making the ball look
closer to his head than it really was.
"The ball ran in on him and hit him, and then he came out and
tried to discuss things with me," Sullivan said. "If you look at
my stats the last couple of years, I hit a lot of people. I throw
inside and that one got away from me."
Sullivan's one-pitch performance came in relief of Scott
Williamson (3-6), who pitched a career-high six innings in just his
second major league start.
"Relievers have to enter the game in the eighth or ninth and
put the game away. As a starter you try to keep momentum on your
side," Williamson said.
Momentum has been nonexistent for the Rockies since their last
victory on July 3. Their losing streak is second-longest in team
history. Colorado lost 13 straight during its inaugural 1993 season
and had a nine-game skid last year.
"It's hard to talk about this every day," Rockies manager
Buddy Bell said. "The fact of the matter is we have to start
making some adjustments. It's affected us to the point where we
can't seem to get off the mat."
Bell was ejected after the brawl along with Hunter, Sullivan and
Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who questioned why he was
singled out among dozens of players.
"He did a birdman flying into the pile," crew chief Dana
DeMuth said of Helton. "He took a run and a leap over the top of
the pile. That's not going in and trying to break anything up.
That's just being careless." Asked if he felt he was reckless, Helton said, "No
The scuffle dated to Thursday night when Griffey was hit in the
back and Colorado star Larry Walker was hit three innings later.
Walker played peacemaker Saturday by restraining Griffey and Sean Casey.
"Griffey is someone we just have to protect," Bichette said.
"There were some hard feelings, but we have to protect Griffey."
Cincinnati, the only team to sweep a series at Coors Field this
season, broke a 3-3 tie against Masato Yoshii (4-10) in the sixth
on RBI singles by Michael Tucker and Benito Santiago.
Bichette, who spent seven seasons with Colorado, added a two-run
homer off Belinda -- one of players he was traded for last winter -- after Griffey was plunked in the seventh.
"I enjoyed the home run," Bichette said. "I enjoyed every
aspect of it."
The output was enough to give Williamson his first career
victory as a starter. He gave up three runs and five hits with four
walks and three strikeouts.
Danny Graves got his 15th save. Jeff Cirillo homered in the
Rockies ninth. Colorado took its only lead of the series in third on an RBI
double by Cirillo and a run-scoring single by Walker.
Chris Stynes went 3-for-5 for the Reds and finished the series
8-for-13 with six runs. His career average at Coors Field rose to
|Reds pitcher Scott Sullivan (56) gives Brian Hunter the business after Hunter charged the mound.|
After the game, the Rockies placed LHP Scott Karl on the
15-day disabled list with a strained lower back. No roster move was
expected until Sunday. ... A lineup shakeup did little to
jump-start Colorado's offense. Cirillo moved from cleanup to
second, and Jeffrey Hammonds moving from sixth to fourth. ...
Griffey had reached in five straight plate appearances before
fouling out in the first. ... Williamson threw his 14th wild pitch
of the season, tying him for the major league lead. The Cincinnati
record is 19 by Jim Maloney in 1963 and 1965. ... Walker needs one
more hit for 1,500 in his career.
NY Mets 4
San Francisco 2
Los Angeles 2
Tampa Bay 1
NY Yankees 0
Chi. White Sox 15
St. Louis 7
Chicago Cubs 8
Kansas City 7
San Diego 4
ESPN's Rob Dibble and Jayson Stark discuss the Reds-Rockies brawl.
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Expecting to be hit, Brian Hunter was ready to do some damage.
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The Reds' Scott Sullivan was just looking to pitch inside.
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RealAudio: 14.4 | 28.8 | 56.6