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08/29/08 11:53 PM ET
Dickerson nearly cycles as Reds win
Rookie drives in four runs to help Volquez beat Giants
By Stephen Ellsesser / Special to MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Sitting in front of his locker after Friday night's win over the Giants, Reds outfielder Chris Dickerson didn't know what had hit him. Well, maybe it would be more accurate to say he didn't know who had hit him -- his face covered in the remnants of a shaving-cream pie, Dickerson didn't know who had helped the rookie get the party started. "That's a good question," he said of the culprit's identity. "Bandits!" Dickerson, who made his Major League debut Aug. 12, went 3-for-5, driving in four runs and coming a triple short of hitting for the cycle as the Reds beat San Francisco, 11-7, opening a three-game series at Great American Ball Park. Dickerson knocked a two-run home run in the fifth inning against Billy Sadler for his third hit of the game, which ensured he would have at least one more at-bat to try to become the first Reds player to hit for the cycle since Eric Davis did in 1989. His quest ended unceremoniously in the seventh, when he watched strike three. "I had zero clue," Dickerson said of chasing the cycle. "After I hit the home run, they told me they were waiting for the triple. I said, 'What?' "But yeah, way to go for the triple and strike out looking." Bronson Arroyo pied Dickerson after the game, and Dickerson was all smiles. He's found fast success in the Majors, and along with Edwin Encarnacion's five-RBI outburst, Dickerson's bat proved to be a lightning rod for a Reds offense that was sluggish as the team finished up its nine-game road trip earlier this week. "We were pulling for him to get that triple," manager Dusty Baker said. "But he continues to impress, with his bat, his speed, his arm and defense." Encarnacion got the Reds going, hitting his second career grand slam in the third inning against left-hander Barry Zito (8-16), who fared not much better than he had when he faced the Reds in April. Friday, the Reds touched Zito up for eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits and two walks, chasing San Francisco's $126 million man after 3 1/3 innings. "I thought he was throwing the ball a lot firmer," Baker said of Zito. "It was a lot better. I can see where he has been winning some games lately." On April 27, the Reds posted almost identical numbers against Zito, ringing him up for eight earned runs on seven hits and three walks in three-plus innings pitched. Edinson Volquez (16-5) won for the third time in four starts despite surrendering more earned runs than he has all season. After Encarnacion's slam put the Reds up 4-0, the Giants answered in the top of the fourth, scoring four runs against Volquez. The Cincinnati right-hander checked out after 5 1/3 innings, having given up six earned runs on eight hits and three walks, but against Zito, it was no matter. "Volquie, they hit him good tonight," Baker said. "No one's been getting support lately, but earlier in the season, he was the one getting it and not giving up much. But it was nice to see him get No. 16 tonight." The Reds scored more runs Friday than they had in their previous four games combined, getting contributions throughout the order to stay ahead of the Giants. An inning after his grand slam, Encarnacion drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in his fifth run. After going 7-for-32 with an RBI during the road trip, Encarnacion finished 2-for-4 with his five RBIs. Jolbert Cabrera also ended an 0-for-15 skid, going 2-for-3 with two doubles. Joey Votto, the last batter Zito faced, drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Votto also had multiple hits, going 2-for-3. Dickerson and Cabrera each scored three runs. Even though he had to face the media with shaving cream all over his face, Dickerson still had a big smile on his face. As the music blared in the Reds' clubhouse following the win, there was no doubt about what had just happened. "Having fun is always nice," Dickerson said. "It was a tough road trip. Thinking about that, tonight was nice."
Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.