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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Slugger In, Elvis Out, Cinci Wins

CINCINNATI -- Marge Schott gave her players a stuffed gorilla and banned Elvis from the broadcast booth in a move to salvage the Cincinnati Reds' season.


At 21-30, the Reds have the worst record in the National League and are off to their worst start in 25 years. Schott summoned the players to her office Tuesday evening for a meeting that lasted less than 15 minutes.


"It was a general talk,'' second baseman Bret Boone said. "Just, 'Let's get it going.'"


In the past, the owner has tried to pull her team out of the slumps by presenting good luck charms, rubbing players with dog hair and showing them inspirational tapes.


This time, she gave them a stuffed gorilla named Slugger, who was a Reds cap, for good luck. She also asked them whether they wanted to let broadcaster Marty Brennaman keep a bust of Elvis in the WLW-AM booth. Brennaman had the bust and other Elvis memorabilia on display as a lighthearted diversion.


The players wanted Elvis gone, said Brennaman, who was told by a team official to remove the bust.


"Elvis is the reason they're off to their worst start in 25 years,'' Brennaman said. "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of.''


Slugger became an immediate hit -- and was almost immediately hit in batting practice. "Either it's our good luck charm or our pinata,'' Boone said.


The players sat the gorilla in front of the pitcher's mound for batting practice. They cheered loudly the first time it was hit by a grounder.


Slugger was on the bench as the Reds beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1 and back in the clubhouse afterwards.


"Hopefully, Slugger can help us get on a winning streak,'' said shortstop Barry Larkin.


Schott's summons lightened up the mood in the clubhouse, which had gone flat the last few weeks. They walked out of the clubhouse single-file led by pitcher Mark Portugal. In a Sports Illustrated story, Schott is quoted as saying Portugal "just isn't worth a damn.''


Infielder Eduardo Perez, called up from the minors on Monday, turned to first baseman Hal Morris and said, "My first day.'' Morris responded, "Welcome to Cincinnati.''


Cardinals 11, Padres 5. In San Diego, Gary Gaetti homered in the seventh inning to snap a tie and start a scoring barrage as St. Louis routed San Diego in a battle of first-place teams.


Willie McGee scored three runs, Tom Pagnozzi went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Ray Lankford went 3-for-6 and scored twice as the Cardinals won their sixth straight game. St. Louis scored seven runs over the seventh and eighth innings.


The Padres had three homers, including Rickey Henderson's 68th leadoff shot to extend his major league record, but lost three straight games for the first time this season.


White Sox 6, Red Sox 4. In Boston, Chad Kreuter, who entered the game after starting catcher Ron Karkovice was injured, capped a four-run sixth inning with a two-run single and the surging Chicago White Sox defeated Boston.


Wilson Alvarez (7-3) won his fifth straight start, working 7 1-3 innings for his 50th career win. That moves him into a second-place tie with Alex Carrasquel for career wins by a Venezuelan pitcher, one behind the record held by Luis Leal.


It was the 14th win in their last 16 games and the fifth in a row for the White Sox, who left 16 runners on base, tying the major league high this year.


Chicago's Frank Thomas walked his first five times up, two intentional. In his last at-bat in the ninth, the count went full before he singled to center.


Brewers 6, Rangers 2. In Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Brewers took advantage of a rusty Kevin Gross, scoring five times in the first inning on their way to beating the Texas Rangers.


Ricky Bones (4-8) gave up two runs on seven hits in 7 1-3 innings in beating Texas for the fourth straight time. Since 1994, he has given up just four earned runs in 29 1-3 innings against the Rangers for an ERA of 1.23.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)