Bullpen falters, Reds fall in finale

Bullpen falters, Reds fall in finale

CINCINNATI -- The exasperated look on David Weathers' face conveyed everything.

Weathers and the rest of the Reds' bullpen continued to struggle as they surrendered three runs to the Indians in the final two innings Sunday as Cincinnati lost, 6-3, before 36,849 at Great American Ball Park.

With the score tied at three in the eighth, Weathers (3-3) gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Aaron Boone into the seats in right-center field. Weathers could only wish he'd thrown a better pitch.

"You can only say 'You stink' so many times," Weathers said. "I'm just not getting the job done."

As Boone rounded the bases, Weathers put his hands up in disgust as if to say, "What else can go wrong?"

"I don't care how long you've been around, you get frustrated," Weathers said. "You've got to pitch your way out of it."

Weathers wasn't the lone culprit in the loss. Reliever Matt Belisle gave up a solo home run to Ben Broussard that added to the Cleveland lead.

"We've had some guys out there that, at times, have struggled," said Reds manager Jerry Narron. "We've just got to get them back out there where they're throwing well and getting guys out."

In his last seven appearances, Weathers has allowed eight earned runs, 12 hits and four walks.

"I don't think I've ever had [a streak] as rough as this one," Weathers said. "This one been prolonged longer than any I've ever had."

The Reds still had a chance in the ninth. Juan Castro led off with a double against Indians closer Bob Wickman. With two outs, Wickman bobbled Felipe Lopez's roller near the mound and put runners on the corners. Ken Griffey Jr. stepped to the plate, pinch-hitting for Brandon Phillips. One great swing could have tied the game.

Griffey was unable to duplicate Adam Dunn's comeback magic from Friday and struck out to end the game, giving the Reds their second loss in the series and a split of the season series. The Reds also finished the six-game homestand with a 3-3 record.

Phillips appeared surprised when he was lifted for Griffey, but said he understood the decision.

"Griffey is the best hitter on the team and a [future] Hall of Famer," Phillips said of the managerial decision. "I would have done the same thing, honestly."

Narron was ejected for the third time this season for arguing with first-base umpire Chris Guccione on a close play involving Dunn in the eighth inning, where it appeared he had beat out a grounder to shortstop.

"It was a real big play," Narron said. "I thought Dunner was on the base easily. "

Catcher David Ross provided much of the offensive pop on the afternoon. He set a new career high with his 11th and 12th home runs, in the second and sixth innings, respectively.

Starter Eric Milton did not factor in the decision after he allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out six batters in six innings, but left with the score tied at 3.

Milton turned the game over to the bullpen, which was roughed up by an Indians team that enjoyed taking its hacks in the late innings this weekend. In the three-game series, Reds relievers allowed nine runs on 12 hits and walked five in 11 innings.

"We ended the homestand on a bad note," Weathers said. "It seems like we didn't pitch well [at home] at all."

William S. Hupp is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.