Harang, Seattle get by Reds, 4-2
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Reds have seen this so many times: Aaron Harang gets on the mound at Great American Ball Park and simply takes over.
For the first time, they had to watch him do it in a visitor’s uniform.
Harang went six innings in the ballpark where he still holds the strikeout record, and Nick Franklin and Michael Saunders homered on Friday night, leading the Seattle Mariners to a 4-2 victory over Cincinnati.
“I made many a start on that mound,” said Harang, who made 112 starts there for the Reds but had never gone against them at Great American Ball Park. “I got back out there and it felt like old times.”
Harang (4-7) limited his former team to a pair of runs and six hits, including Joey Votto’s 15th homer. Oliver Perez struck out the side in the ninth for his second save.
Franklin hit a two-run homer on Mike Leake’s fourth pitch, and Harang took it from there.
“Those first two balls, they’ve got two runs,” Reds third baseman Todd Frazier said. “You’re surprised. They came out swinging. And with Harang throwing well and mixing his pitches and hitting his spots, that’s a win.”
The Mariners are making their second visit to Cincinnati and their first to Great American Ball Park, which opened in 2003. In their other trip, they swept a three-game series at Cinergy Field in 2002. The Mariners are 9-1 all-time against the Reds.
Seattle and Cincinnati will always have one notable baseball connection: Ken Griffey Jr., who grew up in Cincinnati, developed into one of the majors’ best with Seattle, and returned to his hometown in a trade before the 2000 season. Griffey finished his career in 2010, when he retired from the Mariners.
Now, there’s another.
Harang pitched for the Reds from 2003-10, starting five season openers. He holds the record for most career strikeouts at Great American with 598, including his four on Friday night.
The 35-year-old pitcher has kept in touch with several former Reds teammates and some of his former neighbors. When Homer Bailey threw his second career no-hitter on Tuesday night in Cincinnati, Harang got to watch part of it on television in Texas and sent along congratulations.
The only time he felt out of placed was when he warmed up in the visitors’ bullpen by the right-field line.
“I was a little nervous when I first went out there today,” he said. “It was an awkward feeling coming out from the other side of the field.”
Leake had his start pushed back one day because of a rainout. Franklin hit his two-run homer in the first. Saunders added a solo homer and a sacrifice fly off Leake, who lasted five innings.
“They came out smoking,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Leake wasn’t fooling anybody. He was getting the ball up.”
Leake had allowed only nine earned runs in his last nine starts, going 5-1 with a 1.31 ERA.
That stretch of fine pitching ended quickly.
Brad Miller, batting leadoff for the first time, hit Leake’s third pitch for a triple to right-center. Franklin homered on the next pitch.
Saunders led off the second inning with his fifth homer. He hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth for a 4-0 lead, the most runs Leake had allowed in a game since May 8.
“They had a game plan,” Leake said. “They were aggressive, and I made a couple of mistakes that got me.”
Miller also tripled down the right-field line in the fifth but was stranded at third. He’s the first Mariner to have two triples in one game since Carlos Guillen in 2003 and the 13th overall, according to STATS LLC.
Seattle slugger Raul Ibanez extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single.
NOTES: The Reds honored Homer Bailey on the field before the game for his second career no-hitter on Tuesday night against San Francisco. Jim Maloney, who also threw two no-hitters for the Reds, joined in the festivities and threw a ceremonial pitch to batterymate Johnny Edwards. … Franklin’s homer gave Seattle 20 in the first inning this season, most in the majors. … Saunders had been out of the lineup the last six games with a finger injury. … Mariners OF Michael Morse, on the 15-day DL since June 22 with a strained right thigh, plans to run the bases on Saturday to test the leg. He’s close to starting a rehab assignment. … The Reds wore white Fourth of July caps that were made for Thursday’s game.
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