The Reds stopped Gooden, for once, by breeding their own rally. In the second inning, after Bo Diaz's one-out single, Oester rapped a hit to right. Diaz moved to third, while Oester took second on the throw. "Bo taking third was the key," Oester says. "We've got to be aggressive." Eddie Milner worked a 3-2 walk to load the bases for Rose. On a full count the aging manager lashed a liner toward Tim Teufel at second. "If he catches it, it's a minute-and-a-half standing ovation," Rose said later. Instead, the ball trickled into right, and all three runners, who had been off and away on Gooden's windup, scored on the single. "We haven't been getting the breaks," Oester says. "But for once we got one."
Once, of course, is not enough, not when the Reds will have to play .603 ball the rest of the way just to equal their 89 wins of last year. Bergesch has given the club until the end of its road trip this Friday to continue to shape up or be reshaped. "We can't just go down the drain," he says.
Five of the Reds' eight starters are former All-Stars, their bench is littered with superb prospects, their starting rotation was supposedly solidified over the winter and their bullpen carried them last year. And firing the manager isn't a real option. Rose, who is actually being booed in Cincinnati, remains upbeat, and the Reds continue to field well and play hard. "I really feel sorry for Pete, because not even Houdini could manage this club the way things are going," says one player.
It would take something on the order of emerging from a frozen Ohio River while straitjacketed for Cincinnati to rise in the West. Because the way things are going, there's not a whole lot wright with the Wreds.