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Dusty passes Lasorda with 1,600th career win

Reds skipper ranks 18th on all-time managerial victories list

CINCINNATI -- On its own merits, Tuesday's thrilling 5-4 walk-off win for the Reds will be memorable for the 25,730 fans at Great American Ball Park. For manager Dusty Baker, it's even more special.

When Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo connected for back-to-back two-out home runs in the ninth against Craig Kimbrel to take the game, it gave Baker career win No. 1,600.

That put Baker all alone in 18th place on the all-time wins list, passing Dodgers great and Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda.

"That was one of the best victories I can remember out of the 1,600," Baker said. "It might be the top one. It's quite an honor to pass my old skipper, Tom Lasorda, too. I tied Tom Lasorda against my old club, the Cubs. I passed him with my original club, the Braves. That was probably the best victory I could imagine."

Baker, 63, began his big league managerial career in 1993. He has a career record of 1,600-1,446. Up next is Hall of Famer Fred Clarke, who has 1,602 wins.

Ten of the managers ahead of Baker on the list are in the Hall of Fame and three others -- Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre -- rank in the top five in wins.

"That's incredible," Mesoraco said. "Dusty brings so much to the game. He's been around for so long. Just the guys he has the information from after being in the game so long, you collect information from guys that you play with. He's an encyclopedia of sorts."

The Reds were down to their final strike against Kimbrel when Mesoraco sent a 3-2 pitch into the first row of seats in right-center field. Choo followed by a hitting a 2-1 fastball 432 feet to left-center field.

"That's exciting," Baker said. "That's why you play nine and play all the outs. You never really know. We beat one of the best closers in the game today."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
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