Giants Fall To Reds, Now Tied For NL Wildcard

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

SAN FRANCISCO(AP) Aaron Harang had been hearing it from family members and friends, a constant reminder as the losses piled up over the past two months.

They should leave him be now.

Harang ended the worst winless stretch of his career with his first victory since late May, Brandon Phillips and Adam Rosales each homered and the Cincinnati Reds beat the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

''You think about it, but it was more my family and friends thinking about it,'' Harang said with a smile. ''I was throwing some good games and hadn't been getting much run support.''

The lowly Reds - led by former San Francisco skipper Dusty Baker - had to feel pretty good about themselves after taking this series, in which they won both games started by Giants All-Stars Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum . Cincinnati won its first series since June 30-July 2 against Arizona.

Entering the weekend, the Reds had won only four games since the All-Star break and were mired in an eight-game road losing streak.

''Boy, it's been a long time for Aaron. It feels great for him,'' Baker said. ''Sometimes when you don't have a victory for a long time, you wonder, 'Am I every going to win again?'''

The Giants, who had won six straight home series, fell into a tie with Colorado for the NL wild card lead after the Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs 11-5 at Coors Field. San Francisco dropped only its third series of the year at the club's waterfront ballpark.

''We've played so well all year, and, you know, a couple of hiccups here,'' San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. ''The way we played this series, that's going to happen. We just have to put this one behind us. We have a big series in front of us.''

That starts Monday night against the archrival and NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers .

Phillips hit a two-out solo homer in the first off Cain to put the Reds up early, then they built on that cushion with Rosales' two-run homer in a three-run fourth. Rosales also singled twice for a career-best three hits.

And Harang (6-13) did his part despite loading the bases with none out in the eighth on three straight singles. Nick Masset relieved and got Pablo Sandoval to ground into a double play on the first pitch and then Bengie Molina to fly out. Sandoval also hit into a double play in the sixth.

Francisco Cordero finished for his 24th save in 25 chances.

Harang hadn't won since May 25 against Houston, a span of 13 starts in which he was 0-9 and had lost his last five starts. The burly right-hander was 1-5 over his previous six starts in San Francisco.

Baker has noticed Harang is locating his pitches better and has increased his velocity - some tiny tweaks the pitcher hopes will get him on a roll.

''I feel like I've got in a groove and worked on some stuff with my mechanics,'' he said.

Until Eugenio Velez 's leadoff double in the sixth, the only baserunner to get past first was Sandoval. He singled in the first, then advanced on Harang's wild pitch. Velez has a career-best 15-game hitting streak.

Cain (12-4), who has lost his last three outings against the Reds over three seasons, struck out seven in seven innings and matched his season high with five runs. Alex Gonzalez was ejected by home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn for arguing after he struck out swinging in the seventh.

Phillips' 17th homer was just the fifth earned run allowed by Cain over his last 47 1-3 innings at home. Cain has given up nine earned runs in his last two starts after allowing only five in his six July outings. He raised his ERA from 2.25 to 2.44.

''It's a series that you think we should win,'' Cain said. ''Pitching let us down.''

San Francisco center fielder Aaron Rowand laid out for a great diving catch of Phillips' sinking liner in the fifth. But Rowand came out of the game an inning later with a tight left hamstring.

NOTES: Velez is 16-for-43 (.372) lifetime against the Reds. ... Reds 3B Scott Rolen returned to Cincinnati to be examined for concussion-like symptoms after being scratched Saturday. ... Baker expects OF Chris Dickerson , on the disabled list since July 27 with a bruised right shoulder, to return during the team's upcoming series at St. Louis. ... Bochy plans to meet with GM Brian Sabean about the team's outfield situation considering Nate Schierholtz is set to be activated from the DL on Tuesday. ... The Giants' Randy Winn ended an 0-for-11 stretch with a leadoff single in the ninth.


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