Harang pitched an eight-hitter for his National League-leading sixth complete game and the Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 Friday night.
Harang (16-11) threw 125 pitches, struck out nine and didn't walk a batter to move into a tie for the league lead in wins. He also leads the NL in strikeouts and innings pitched after becoming the first Red to throw consecutive complete games since Pete Harnisch in July 2000.
"He finished off for him a great regular season of starts," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "He pitched outstanding."
Rich Aurilia homered and drove in three runs for the Reds, who have won five of six and entered play in third in the NL Central, 2½ games behind division-leading St. Louis. They have two games left against the Pirates. With Houston's loss to Atlanta on Friday, Cincinnati moved within a game of second place.
"(Harang) pitched really well," Aurilia said. "He got big outs when he needed them and we put enough runs on the board tonight. We banged out (13) hits and still somehow only scored five but we'll take a win any way we can."
Harang struck out the final batter of the game -- pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit -- to take the league lead in strikeouts with 216, one more than San Diego's Jake Peavy.
"It still amazes me; I'm not typically a strikeout pitcher," Harang said. "It's definitely something to be excited about."
Ronny Paulino singled in Sanchez in the fourth but Aurilia hit his 23rd homer in the fifth against Zach Duke (10-15) to make it 3-1. Aurilia's drive to the deepest part of the park in left-center bounced off the top of the padded wall and scored Norris Hopper, who had walked with two outs.
"I saw the ball well, I feel like I hit the ball well tonight," Aurilia said. "He left a pitch up and out over the plate on the home run."
Aurilia singled in Hopper in the seventh, and Juan Castro tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the eighth for Cincinnati.
With Pittsburgh in fifth in the NL Central, fans focused on Sanchez's pursuit of the batting title.
Fans were given signs that said "Go Freddy Go" and each time Sanchez came to the plate he was greeted with an ovation. He singled in the first and fourth innings, lined out sharply to left with Duffy on second and two outs in the fifth and grounded out weakly with Duffy at third in the seventh.
"It's awesome, that's the best part, when fans get involved," Sanchez said. They've come out all year. We've had a disappointing year, but they've always been there. It feels great to have them."
Florida's Miguel Cabrera went 1-for-3 to remain at .340, five points behind Sanchez with two games to play.
"I want to go out and get some hits," Sanchez said. "But at the same time you want to win, but we're not winning."
Duke allowed four runs and 12 hits with a walk in 6 2/3 innings, striking out two.
"I battled myself out there," Duke said. "I just couldn't get into a rhythm. It's definitely not how I wanted to end (the season)."
|Players of the Game|
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|Chris Denorfia, CF||4||0||1||0||1||0||0||.283|
|Norris Hopper, RF||3||2||2||0||1||0||1||.359|
|Todd Hollandsworth, RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.250|
|Rich Aurilia, 1B-3B||5||1||3||3||0||0||1||.300|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.276|
|Scott Hatteberg, 1B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.290|
|Adam Dunn, LF||4||1||2||0||0||2||2||.235|
|Dewayne Wise, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.206|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.276|
|Juan Castro, SS||4||1||3||1||0||0||0||.254|
|Jason LaRue, C||4||0||2||0||0||0||2||.194|
|Aaron Harang, P||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.108|
|2B - Adam Dunn (24, Duke), Jason LaRue (5, Duke)|
|3B - Juan Castro (3, Rogers)|
|HR - Rich Aurilia (23, Duke)|
|RBI - Rich Aurilia 3 (70), Juan Castro (28)|
|2-OUT RBI - Rich Aurilia 3 (23), Juan Castro (18)|
|SB - Norris Hopper (2, 3rd base off Duke/Paulino), Rich Aurilia (3, 2nd base off Duke/Paulino)|
|CS - Norris Hopper (2, 2nd base by Duke/Paulino)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Aaron Harang (W,16-11)||9||8||2||2||0||9||0||3.76|
|HBP - Bay (by Aaron Harang)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 125-89|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 7-11|
|Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 36|
|Chris Duffy, CF||4||0||3||0||0||0||0||.255|
|Jack Wilson, SS||3||0||0||1||0||0||2||.274|
|Freddy Sanchez, 3B||4||1||2||0||0||0||2||.345|
|Jason Bay, LF||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.284|
|Xavier Nady, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.273|
|Ronny Paulino, C||4||0||1||1||0||2||1||.311|
|Jose Bautista, RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.236|
|Jose Castillo, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.251|
|Zach Duke, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||0||.191|
|Matt Capps, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Joe Randa, PH||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.263|
|Juan Perez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brian Rogers, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Ryan Doumit, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.210|
|a-singled for Capps in the 7th|
|b-struck out for Rogers in the 9th|
|2B - Chris Duffy 2 (14, Harang, Harang)|
|SF - Jack Wilson (5)|
|RBI - Jack Wilson (35), Ronny Paulino (54)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Outfield Assists - Jose Bautista 1|
|DP - J. Wilson-Castillo-Nady|
|Zach Duke (L,10-15)||6.2||12||4||4||1||3||1||4.47|
|WP - Zach Duke (8), Brian Rogers (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 108-65, Matt Capps 5-3, Juan Perez 4-3, Brian Rogers 36-20|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 11-3, Matt Capps 1-0, Brian Rogers 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Zach Duke 30, Matt Capps 1, Juan Perez 1, Brian Rogers 7|
|Attendance - 27033|
|Game Time - 2:31|
|Temperature - 53|
|Umpires - Home - Marvin Hudson, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Bob Davidson, Third Base - Mark Wegner|