Harang’s pitching, running help Reds beat Pirates, 7-5
CINCINNATI — Aaron Harang glanced at third base coach Mark Berry and saw him wave his arm emphatically, his way of telling the pitcher to keep running.
Keep running? Really?
Harang ran on, scoring all the way from first base — barely — in a draining dash that highlighted Cincinnati’s winning rally on Monday night. Harang singled home the go-ahead run, then chugged around the bases to score another during a five-run fourth inning, leading the Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“It’ll be a while before you see me try to do that again,” Harang said.
His teammates were still smiling over it long after the game ended.
“He said when he got to third, he was like, ’What’s going on here?”’ said Drew Stubbs, who had a solo homer among his three hits. “We got a pretty big kick out of it.”
Left-hander Brian Burres (2-2) walked the first two batters in the fourth to start the pivotal rally, losing his feel for the strike zone at a bad time.
“I was doing everything I could to throw a strike, and you can’t pitch like that,” Burres said. “From that first pitch in the fourth inning, it was a struggle for me.”
Ryan Hanigan grounded into a double play that produced one run and gave Burres a chance to escape without much damage. Instead, he fell behind 3-0 to Harang, a .090 career hitter. He took a pitch, then lined a down-the-middle fastball to left for a 3-2 lead.
Harang stood at first on the muggy, 84-degree night, unprepared for what would happen next. Orlando Cabrera doubled to the gap in left-center, and the 6-foot-7, 260-pound Harang got moving at his top speed, expecting to make a stop at third.
Berry waved. Harang chugged on, barely beating the high relay throw to catcher Ryan Doumit. He got his foot on the plate just as Doumit tagged his belt — no way was he going to slide.
“Stumblin,’ bumbling,” manager Dusty Baker said, describing the last few feet. “But those were the two deciding runs, the run he drove in and the run he scored. That was the only kind of hit he was going to score on.”
Shortstop Ronny Cedeno’s relay throw was high, giving Harang a chance to sneak his foot in safely.
“A lower throw, I think we would have had him,” manager John Russell said.
Harang (3-5) had enough energy left to hang on for the win. He allowed four runs in 6 1-3 innings, including Ronny Cedeno’s two-run homer. He left after giving up a two-run double by Delwyn Young in the seventh, when Pittsburgh cut it to 7-5.
“I think fatigue was starting to get to me a little bit,” said Harang, who threw 114 pitches.
Left-hander Arthur Rhodes pitched the eighth, extending his scoreless-innings streak to 16 1-3 innings. Francisco Cordero gave up a double in the ninth while earning his 15th save in 18 tries.
The Reds have won three of four and seven of their last 10, keeping them in a back-and-forth race with St. Louis for the top spot in the NL Central. The victory on Monday moved them into a first-place tie with the Cardinals at 26-19.
They’ve won all four games against the Pirates this month, including a three-game sweep May 10-12 in Pittsburgh.
The Pirates also lost first baseman Steve Pearce, who sprained his ankle in the second inning while chasing down Young’s errant throw from third base. Young’s throw led to an unearned run, and Pearce left the game an inning later. Russell said the Pirates will know more about the severity on Tuesday.
NOTES: Cedeno has four homers this season, three against Cincinnati. … The Reds set off fireworks during the seventh-inning stretch, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the first night game at Crosley Field. … The Reds placed Homer Bailey on the 15-day DL with an inflamed pitching shoulder. RH reliever Enerio Del Rosario, called up to fill the roster spot, made his big-league debut in the seventh and struck out Andrew McCutcheon, who reached on a passed ball on strike three.