Harang helps Reds get past Astros

BY foxsports • May 26, 2009

Reds right-hander Aaron Harang kept working when the game was delayed by rain for more than two hours in the fifth inning.

He wasn't going to let this one get away.

Harang came back out after the delay to earn his first win over the Astros in two years and Cincinnati made the most of three Houston errors, scoring eight unearned runs in an 8-5 victory Monday.

Harang (5-4) surrendered a single to Hunter Pence when the game resumed in the fifth then struck out Humberto Quintero. He had lost his last four starts against the Astros since he beat them with a complete game on May 30, 2007.

"I think I threw a complete game with all the work I did inside," he said.

Harang allowed three runs and 10 hits in five innings. Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said he was willing to work with him after the delay.

"We asked him, 'What would you do if you were us?"' Baker said. "He said, 'I'd let me go back.' I'm just glad the delay wasn't longer. He wanted the game, and he deserved the chance to go get it."

Jonny Gomes had three hits and three RBIs for the Reds, who have won three of four. Jerry Hairston Jr., Ramon Hernandez, Adam Rosales and Harang had two hits apiece.

"Fun day, long day," said Gomes, who has six hits in four games since being called up from Triple-A Louisville on Friday. "We ran out a good nine today. It was just good baseball all the way around. We did a good job with our situational hitting. We didn't leave a whole lot of runners out there."

Lance Berkman hit a two-run homer for Houston, which tied a season high with its fifth consecutive loss.

It was an impressive showing for a Reds lineup that was missing three key starters at the beginning of the game. Joey Votto, still suffering the effects of an inner ear infection, was intentionally walked when he hit for Harang in the fifth and stayed in to play first. Slumping right fielder Jay Bruce entered in the bottom of the ninth.

Second baseman Brandon Phillips sat out with a hairline fracture in his right thumb. Baker said he could play as early as Wednesday.

Berkman's 10th homer in the first inning was his 47th against Cincinnati, his highest total against another team, and 21st at Great American Ball Park, the most of any opposing player.

Cincinnati responded with five runs in the bottom half against Wandy Rodriguez (5-3). Willy Taveras started the inning by reaching on a grounder to shortstop Miguel Tejada that was ruled a hit at first and later changed to an error, making all the runs unearned.

"I don't think about it after a guy makes an error," Rodriguez said. "I just try to make a good pitch."

Gomes, Rosales, Paul Janish and Harang each had an RBI single in the inning. Alex Gonzalez also drove in a run with a fielder's choice.

"Defense was pretty much the culprit today," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "We didn't catch the ball. We didn't bail the pitcher out."

Rodriguez was visited by a trainer after his 29th pitch, but stayed in and retired Taveras for the final out of the first. The left-hander tied his career high by allowing 10 hits and also surrendered six unearned runs in a a season-low four innings.

Rodriguez had allowed one earned run in 14 innings over his previous two starts against the Reds this season.

Berkman led off the third with a double and scored on a single by Quintero, who entered in the second inning after catcher Ivan Rodriguez left with left knee irritation.

Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 12 chances.


Astros 3B Geoff Blum, who left Sunday's loss against Texas in the sixth inning with a strained left hamstring, sat out. ... Janish's start at third base was his first career appearance at the position. ... Reds RHP Nick Masset, eligible to be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, reported no problems with his strained left side muscle a day after throwing batting practice. ... Carlos Lee's first-inning triple for Houston was his first three-bagger since 2007.

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