Reds 7, Diamondbacks 3

Saturday, July 22nd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CINCINNATI (AP) — Barry Larkin got a 20-second standing ovation from fans urging him to stay, and emergency starter Ron Villone singled home a pair of runs as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-3 Saturday.

The focus was on Larkin, the team captain who has to decide whether to accept a trade to the Mets. Several banners urged him to stay and the 42,568 fans gave him a warm reception in the first.

Larkin backed out of the box, waved to the crowd, then bowed his head and stood motionless as the cheers washed over him. He stepped back in and singled — his only hit in five at-bats.

Although Larkin didn't have much success, the rest of the Reds took advantage of the first bad start by Geraldo Guzman (2-1), who had won his first two major league starts.

Guzman gave up six hits and five runs in only 2 2-3 innings, a major change.

Guzman, a 27-year-old rookie who hurt his shoulder in 1990 and took up carpentry for seven years, allowed only one run and eight hits in 16 innings while beating Houston and Seattle in his first two starts.

His biggest mistake came against Villone (8-6), who struggled but won while filling in for sore-armed starter Larry Leubbers.

Villone, only 3-for-27 (.111) this season with two RBIs, came to bat in the second with runners on second and third and singled to right, putting the Reds ahead 3-1. Sean Casey had an RBI double and Dmitri Young singled home a run in the third to make it 5-1 and chase Guzman.

Villone was pitching on one day of rest after making a relief appearance in Houston. Villone, demoted to the bullpen this month because of his ineffectiveness, gave up five hits, walked four and hit two in six innings, throwing 123 pitches.

Mark Wohlers, back in the majors for the first time in more than a year, made his second appearance in three days and pitched out of a bases-loaded threat in the Arizona eighth. Wohlers gave up an infield single and a pair of walks before getting Matt Williams to hit into a forceout.

Wohlers finished with a perfect ninth.

The Diamondbacks again had problems getting a clutch hit. They stranded 13 runners, eight of them in scoring position.

Alex Cabrera's third homer off Villone cut it to 5-3 in the fifth, but Omar Daal and Byung-Hyun Kim each walked a batter with the bases loaded in the seventh to put the Reds in control.

Larkin, who got a warm ovation before each at-bat, hit into a rally-ending double play in the fourth and grounded into a forceout with the bases loaded in the sixth.

Young and Juan Castro had three hits apiece. Casey extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games with a pair of doubles and Dante Bichette extended his season-high streak to 16 games with a single.

Notes: Guzman threw 64 pitches in 2 2-3 innings. ... Williams is 11-for-37 in nine games since returning from his second stay on the disabled list. ... The loss snapped Arizona's three-game winning streak. The Diamondbacks haven't won more than three in a row since a five-game streak from May 23-27. ... Villone needed 64 pitches to get through the first two innings, but Arizona managed only one run. ... In his two appearances covering four innings, Wohlers has given up one hit, walked two, thrown one wild pitch and struck out two. ... Ken Griffey Jr. had a pair of infield singles, leaving him 5-for-33.