Taylor#039;s GS gives Harang win in debut

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 11, 2003

SAN DIEGO - Reggie Taylor's second career grand slam was a welcome sight for Cincinnati.

The struggling outfielder's blast in the eighth inning helped Aaron Harang earn his first National League victory as the Reds beat the San Diego Padres 9-5 on Saturday night.

''This is the highlight of my season,'' said Taylor, who's hitting just .197. ''I am just going to try and build some momentum from here.''

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Taylor, who entered as a pinch runner in the seventh, hit a curveball from Mike Matthews in the eighth to break open a close game and give Cincinnati a 9-3 lead.

''I was just hoping it was going to the wall,'' Taylor said. ''I've been struggling all season.''

The hit also virtually ended the Padres' hopes for a late comeback.

''We were in that ballgame two runs down, but trying to overcome six runs is asking a lot,'' Padres manager Bruce Bochy said.

Harang, 1-3 with a 5.34 ERA with Oakland before he was traded to Cincinnati on July 30, allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out six and walked one in his NL debut.

''He kept the ball down for the most part,'' Cincinnati manager Dave Miley said. ''He threw some pretty good breaking pitches.''

The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Harang, a San Diego native, couldn't work out of a jam in the sixth. With one out, Mark Kotsay and Mark Loretta singled and Harang struck out Phil Nevin. But Harang (1-0) then walked Ryan Klesko to load the bases, ending the Reds starter's night in front of family and friends.

''I could hear all of the people yelling at me as I went out to stretch,'' Harang said. ''But I got in my zone and just threw the ball like I have been throwing recently. I felt really good with the control I had with all of my pitches.''

Kent Mercker came in and gave up a two-run ground-rule double to Sean Burroughs, who had three RBIs in the game, as the Padres narrowed the deficit to 4-3.

But the Reds scored again in the seventh on Sean Casey's RBI single before Taylor's grand slam broke it open the next inning.

Juan Castro led off the eighth with a single, and Jaret Wright issued one-out walks to Adam Dunn and D'Angelo Jimenez to load the bases. Matthews came in and Taylor put a 1-1 pitch over the right-center field wall.

With the game tied at 1, Cincinnati scored three times in the sixth.

Oliver Perez (4-5) allowed consecutive singles to Barry Larkin, Casey, Brandon Larson and Jason LaRue to make it 3-1.

Ruben Mateo drove in the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly.

Perez allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings in his first loss since July 17.

''Perez had great stuff,'' Bochy said. ''Too good of stuff to give up four runs. He just made some mistakes and got some balls up there.''

Gary Matthews Jr. gave the Padres a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the third, and Larson drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth to tie it.

Notes: Taylor's first grand slam came on May 12, 2002, against St. Louis. … Larkin went 3-for-4 and is 9-for-16 (.563) in his last four games. … Jimenez went 2-for-4 and has hit safely in 24 of 28 games since being acquired from the White Sox on July 6. … The Reds' 15 strikeouts put their major league-leading total at 953. … Taylor was 0-for-26 before singling in the 12th on Friday night and hitting the grand slam.