"I was just up there trying to battle," Clayton said. "I knew if I hooked one to third base, it could be a double play, so I was trying to stay up the middle. (Eyre) knew it, too. That was the strategical battle. I was trying to go the other way, he was trying to make me pull the ball."
The Cubs led 2-1 in the ninth but Ryan Dempster (1-9) had his ninth blown save of the season. Pinch-hitter Todd Hollandsworth led off with a double and Dempster uncorked two wild pitches that allowed pinch-runner Ray Olmedo to score.
"I put Scott in a bad situation," said Dempster, who hasn't had a save since Aug. 14 in a 3-0 win at Houston.
Denorfia then singled to left and moved to third on Scott Hatteberg's base hit. Dempster issued an intentional walk to Rich Aurilia and was relieved by Eyre, who gave up Clayton's hit.
"That was a professional at-bat," said Reds manager Jerry Narron, whose team improved to 41-39 at Great American Ball Park and guaranteed a second consecutive winning home season. "I don't know how many pitches it was, but any time you have a 10-pitch at-bat, it's huge."
Aaron Harang (15-11) allowed six hits in his fifth complete game of the season, tied for the most in the National League. He also struck out nine and didn't walk a batter, extending to 79 his streak of consecutive starts without walking more than three batters -- the fourth-longest current streak in the major leagues. He threw 87 of his 110 pitches for strikes.
He wiggled out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the ninth with the help of third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who flagged down a chopper up the line by rookie Buck Coats and hustled to tag third base for the inning-ending forceout.
"I didn't have that many pitches going into the ninth," Harang said. "They were battling me. For (Narron) to let me stay out there and get the win was huge."
"I thought he was going to have a complete game with 90 pitches," Narron said. "I looked up there in the sixth and he had something like 60 pitches and 10 balls. I was going to give him every chance in the world to win that game."
Aramis Ramirez lined the first pitch he saw from Harang in the fourth inning 389 feet into the left-center field seats for his career-high 37th homer. He hit 36 in 2004, his first full season with Chicago after being acquired from Pittsburgh in the middle of the 2003 season.
Ramirez also tied Houston's Lance Berkman for the most home runs at Great American Ball Park by an opposing player with 12.
The Reds tied it in the bottom half when Norris Hopper's groundout to second scored Encarnacion, but Coats gave the Cubs the lead in the eighth with his first career homer in his first major league start.
Cubs starter Juan Mateo, who left his last start on Sept. 15 against Cincinnati after three hitless innings with lower back stiffness, allowed a run and three hits in five innings Sunday. He struck out four and walked four.
"Mateo did a good job in his first time out in a while," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "We got him out of there because we didn't want his back flaring up again."
|Players of the Game|
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|Juan Pierre, CF||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.290|
|Freddie Bynum, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.254|
|Ryan Dempster, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Scott Eyre, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Aramis Ramirez, 3B||4||1||1||1||0||0||2||.290|
|Matt Murton, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.294|
|Scott Moore, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.280|
|Bob Howry, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|a- Ryan Theriot, PH-2B||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.336|
|Henry Blanco, C||4||0||1||0||0||2||0||.260|
|Buck Coats, RF||4||1||1||1||0||0||3||.176|
|Ronny Cedeno, SS||3||0||0||0||0||3||1||.245|
|Juan Mateo, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|Michael Wuertz, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Will Ohman, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|b- John Mabry, PH-1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.211|
|a-singled for Howry in the 9th|
|b-popped out for Ohman in the 8th|
|HR - Aramis Ramirez (37, Harang), Buck Coats (1, Harang)|
|RBI - Aramis Ramirez (114), Buck Coats (1)|
|SB - Juan Pierre (56, 2nd base off Harang/LaRue), Freddie Bynum (8, 2nd base off Harang/LaRue)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Bob Howry (H,21)||1||2||0||0||0||2||0||3.18|
|Ryan Dempster (BS,9; L,1-9)||0.1||3||2||2||1||1||0||5.00|
|IBB - LaRue by Juan Mateo, Aurilia by Ryan Dempster|
|WP - Ryan Dempster 2 (6)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Juan Mateo 86-46, Michael Wuertz 22-14, Will Ohman 5-3, Bob Howry 16-14, Ryan Dempster 24-11, Scott Eyre 11-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Juan Mateo 6-5, Michael Wuertz 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Juan Mateo 22, Michael Wuertz 6, Will Ohman 1, Bob Howry 5, Ryan Dempster 5, Scott Eyre 1|
|Chris Denorfia, CF||4||1||2||0||1||0||0||.256|
|Scott Hatteberg, 1B||2||0||1||0||3||1||1||.288|
|Rich Aurilia, SS||4||0||0||0||1||0||4||.296|
|Adam Dunn, LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.239|
|Dewayne Wise, LF||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.219|
|a- Royce Clayton, PH||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.258|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 3B||4||1||2||0||0||0||2||.287|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.281|
|Norris Hopper, RF||4||0||0||1||0||2||2||.267|
|Jason LaRue, C||2||0||0||0||1||1||0||.187|
|b- Todd Hollandsworth, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.249|
|Ray Olmedo, PR||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.216|
|Aaron Harang, P||3||0||0||0||0||3||2||.114|
|c- Juan Castro, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.245|
|a-singled for Wise in the 9th|
|b-doubled for LaRue in the 9th|
|c-struck out for Harang in the 9th|
|2B - Todd Hollandsworth (17, Dempster)|
|RBI - Royce Clayton (39), Norris Hopper (5)|
|Team LOB - 12|
|E - Scott Hatteberg (4, )|
|Aaron Harang (W,15-11)||9||6||2||2||0||9||2||3.83|
|Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 110-87|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 9-10|
|Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 34|
|Attendance - 22226|
|Game Time - 2:38|
|Temperature - 69|
|Umpires - Home - Jeff Nelson, First Base - Adam Dowdy, Second Base - Randy Marsh, Third Base - Tim Timmons|