Larkin sparks rally, keeps Reds from being swept

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Elmer Dessens pitched seven shutout innings

and Barry Larkin sparked a late rally with a three-run double

Sunday, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-1 victory over the

Atlanta Braves.

After getting outscored 14-1 in the first two games of the

series, the NL Central leaders relied on Dessens (4-3), a handful

of nice defensive plays and a seventh-inning rally to salvage one

game in the series.

Center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. nabbed Andruw Jones at home as he

tried to score in the fifth inning, keeping Cincinnati ahead 1-0.

It was Griffey's first significant contribution since he returned

from a torn tendon in his right knee.

Griffey went 0-for-3 with an intentional walk Sunday, leaving

him 3-for-23 during his comeback.

Aaron Boone snapped an 0-for-12 slump with an RBI double in the

second inning off Damian Moss (2-2), who let the game get out of

hand as his pitch count topped 100 in the seventh.

The Reds loaded the bases with one out, but Moss struck out

pinch-hitter Sean Casey, who angrily snapped his bat on home plate

after fanning on a high fastball.

Larkin then doubled to the gap in left-center on Moss' 110th

pitch to clear the bases. Larkin's 382nd double moved him ahead of

Johnny Bench for third place on the team's career list.

Juan Encarnacion's single off Darren Holmes made it 5-0.

Dessens rebounded from one of his worst starts of the season.

The right-hander lasted only 3 2-3 innings last Tuesday in Florida,

where the Reds rallied for a 6-5 win in 11 innings.

He gave up six hits and a walk in seven innings, lowering his

ERA to 2.51, the best in the rotation. Rafael Furcal's RBI double

off Scott Sullivan snapped the shutout in the eighth.

Furcal had three hits but was twice thrown out while trying to

steal second base, undercutting early threats.

The game got off to a distracted start when workers assembling

the Reds' new ballpark just beyond the outfield wall let a large

slab of stone temporarily dangle in play.

With Furcal at bat to start the game, a crane slowly lowered the

oblong slab until it touched the top of the 40-foot wall in center.

One end hung over the warning track, a few feet behind Griffey, and

a rope briefly drooped in front of the wall.

Furcal wasn't distracted -- he singled up the middle. The

construction crew moved the slab into place, then moved to another

part of the new ballpark.

Griffey kept the game tied and made a rally-blunting play in the

fifth by throwing Jones out at the plate as he tried to score from

second on Javy Lopez's single.

Third base coach Ned Yost initially waved Jones home, then

changed his mind after he rounded third. Jones kept going, slid

feet-first into home and was called out on a close play by umpire

Tony Randazzo.

Game notes
Furcal has stolen 13 bases and been caught eight times. ...

RF Gary Sheffield went 5-for-12 in the series with six RBIs,

returning from a strained hamstring that cost him seven starts. ...

Casey was out of the starting lineup a day after leaving a game

because of tightness in his right hamstring. ... RHP Jose Rijo

returned to the Dominican because his grandfather died Saturday

night. He's not scheduled to pitch during an upcoming three-game

series against St. Louis at Cinergy.