In Rijo-Walk rematch, both seek staying power


PITTSBURGH -- Game 4 of the National League Championship Series tonight will feature a rematch between Cincinnati's Jose Rijo and Pittsburgh's Bob Walk, neither of whom was around for the finish of the opener.

Rijo had a 3-0 lead, but squandered it all on a two-run home run to Sid Bream and left in the sixth inning.

"The only thing different I'll try to do is not throw Bream another high fastball. That's the only pitch he can hit out of the park," said Rijo, who had complete-game wins in his last three starts before the Reds clinched the NL West.

"I still feel almost unbeatable," he said. "I don't think I pitched that badly in Game 1. The last couple of times I worked on three days' rest. Tomorrow, I will be on my normal four days, and I think I'll be even stronger."

Walk was one hit away from being removed after giving up three first-inning runs, then pitched five scoreless innings and earned the win in the Pirates' 4-3 victory.

How to avoid a repeat of the early bashing, especially with the Pirates down in the series?

"If I knew the answer to that, I'd have been a 20-game winner by now, because I've had first innings like that quite a few times in the last 10 years," said Walk.

Walk hopes to have better command of his breaking ball early in the game, so the Reds can't sit on his fastball.

"I was having to come in with the fastball," he said. "My stuff's not good enough to pitch like that."

* Pittsburgh's fans, who surpassed 2 million at home for the first time this season, didn't exactly knock down the doors for their first NL playoff game in 11 years.

The attendance of 45,611 was more than 13,000 shy of Three Rivers Stadium capacity.

"I wouldn't expect anything less than a sellout for this game," said Andy Van Slyke. "But I've played here four years and I've learned never to get excited about the attendance."

Pirates manager Jim Leyland said: "Maybe the crowd was smarter than I was. I thought we'd win."

Leyland would not criticize the turnout because "it was a day game, a weekday. I don't think this is the time to take shots at anybody."

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