Notes: Quick impression for McCracken

Notes: Quick impression for McCracken

CINCINNATI -- During 12 well-traveled big-league seasons, outfielder Quinton McCracken had never made an impression this quickly.

In his first-ever at-bat for Cincinnati, McCracken on Sunday hit a pinch-hit home run to center field in the eighth inning off St. Louis reliever Adam Wainwright.

"That was a new experience for me," said McCracken, who has just 21 career homers with six teams since 1995. None of them was in his first at-bat for a new club.

Unfortunately for Cincinnati, McCracken's long ball was lost in the shuffle in the 8-7 loss to the Cardinals.

"Something he knows how to do is come off the bench and hit," said manager Jerry Narron. "He has an idea of how to stay ready and prepared and what to do when he goes up there. I'm not saying [he should] hit a home run, but [he should] have a good at-bat."

McCracken was called up on Friday after missing the latter portion of Spring Training with a sprained right ankle. He had rehabilitated with the Class A affiliate in Sarasota.

"There's an old saying, 'You can't make the club in the tub,' " said McCracken. "Teams are going to travel north with their 25 best, healthy bodies. At that point in time when I sprained my ankle, I couldn't get out there and compete. It cost me the Opening Day roster, but it's better late than never."

McCracken entered Monday's game in the eighth inning and ended the night 0-for-1.

Kearns cleaning up: Right fielder Austin Kearns' gradual ascent up the batting order brought him to the fourth spot on Monday for the first time this season. Kearns entered the night with four straight two-hit games. He was in the seventh spot for the Reds' first nine games, batted sixth for two games and was fifth on Sunday.

"He's hit really well down in the order," said Narron. "But he's swinging so well that I really felt comfortable putting him behind [Adam] Dunn and giving Dunn some protection."

Kearns homered in the sixth inning of Monday's game. He now has a five-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 11 of 13 games this season.

Over Macho Grande? Narron still felt some sting from Sunday's difficult loss at St. Louis, where Albert Pujols hit a two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to win the game for the Cardinals.

"I haven't gotten Opening Day's [loss] yet. I don't know about yesterday," said Narron. "Any time you get beat, you don't get over it. That's the thing about this game we're in -- you have the opportunity to play the very next day. That's the awesome part of it.

"We'll win one somewhere down the road the very same way."

Seen and heard: Infielder Matt Kata cleared waivers on Monday and was sent outright to Triple-A Louisville. He had been designated for assignment on April 7 to clear room on the 40-man roster after the Reds acquired infielder Brandon Phillips from the Indians.

Pitcher Paul Wilson (rehabbing after right shoulder surgery) threw 73 pitches over 5 1/3 innings on Sunday in his second start at extended Spring Training. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts. His next scheduled start is Friday.

Coming up: Eric Milton will make his third start of 2006 when Cincinnati meets Florida again on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Lefty Jason Vargas is the Marlins' scheduled starter.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.