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Reds' homecoming a downer
08/10/2004 10:01 PM ET
CINCINNATI -- The Reds' homecoming didn't go as well as they would have liked.

After finishing even during their six-game trip out West, the Reds fell to the Dodgers, 5-2, in the opener of a three-game series before 26,295 fans at Great American Ball Park.

"They're a good-hitting ballclub," said Reds starter Aaron Harang. "They're going to jump on your mistakes, and I wound up paying for them tonight."

Harang cruised through the first two frames, but Steve Finley touched him for a two-out, two-run homer in the third. The fourth didn't go much better for the Reds right-hander, as the Dodgers pushed across another pair on Hee-Seop Choi's sacrifice fly and Alex Cora's squeeze bunt.

The final tally against Harang came in the sixth, when Adrian Beltre tagged him for solo homer, his 31st of the season, to center field.

"I didn't feel like I had my best stuff tonight, but I was trying to battle through it," Harang said. "The pitch to Beltre was up in the zone. The one to Finley was a good pitch. It was still on the inner third of the plate and he kept his hands in and didn't pull it foul. He just did a good job with it."

Harang finished the game with five runs allowed on six hits. He struck out seven and walked two with 103 pitches.

"He didn't pitch that bad," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "He tried to go in on Finley and it moved back over the plate on him. The one to Beltre, he just didn't get it where he wanted it."

   Adam Dunn  /   LF
Born: 11/09/79
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 240 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: R

The offensive highlight for the Reds came in the fourth, when Adam Dunn blasted the longest home run in the brief history of Great American Ball Park. Dunn loaded up on a full-count pitch from Dodgers right-hander Jose Lima, and launched one off the top of the 32-foot tall batter's eye in straightaway center.

"Oh my goodness," Reds captain Barry Larkin said of the blow. "Wow!

"I've seen Wily Mo Pena hit that thing in batting practice but I never thought I'd see it in a game. That just shows the power he's got. He has the ability to put up some tremendous numbers. He's going to hit some tremendous shots."

Dunn was less enthusiastic about the blow.

"I hit it good," he said. "But it didn't mean anything. The park's, what, 3 years old? Wily Mo will probably run into one that doubles it."

That's highly unlikely.

The solo blast, his league-leading 35th of the season, traveled an estimated 535 feet. After clearing the batter's eye, it finally settled on a piece of driftwood at the edge of the Ohio River.

The ball was recovered by event technician Tom Tuerck and returned to Dunn after the game.

"It just shows that we're scuffling right now, if everybody's talking about a home run that didn't do anything," Dunn said. "[Lima] didn't care."

The Reds didn't give him any more reasons to care. Lima limited the Reds to a single hit the rest of the way to finish the day with a pair of runs on five hits over eight innings. Eric Gagne slammed the door for his 34th save of the season.

"Lima can pitch," Miley said. "He's always known how to. He kept the ball down and used all his pitches."

While Dunn's homer was the major topic of conversation following the affair, there were a couple of other things on the Cincinnati side worthy of a few words.

   Barry Larkin  /   SS
Born: 04/28/64
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 185 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

Larkin, who had been reduced to a pinch-hitting role because of a strained left oblique muscle, started his first game since July 24. Larkin ripped an RBI double in the first and finished with two hits.

"I've been scratching and clawing to get back in there," Larkin said. "Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. But I was glad to get back in there."

It wasn't all good news on the injury front, though. Ken Griffey Jr. was absent from the lineup again due to soreness in his right hamstring, and leadoff man Ryan Freel left the game after the third inning with a sore right knee.

"It's just sore," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "We'll see how he is tomorrow."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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