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Cincinnati at Houston

Scoreboard
Cincinnati (21-33) «300001000481
Houston (21-31)100000110363

Harang throws six-hitter as Reds hand Astros 10th straight loss

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Aaron Harang was not the ideal pitcher for the Houston Astros to face as they to tried to end a losing streak Wednesday night.

Harang pitched a six-hitter for his first complete game of the season, and the Reds sent Houston to its 10th consecutive loss, 4-3. The Astros' skid is one short of the team record.

Harang struck out seven and improved to 6-0 in his last seven starts against the Astros.

"A couple of years ago, I couldn't get a ball by them. They just lit me up," he said. "I don't know if it's a matter of just mixing pitches up better now, or what. You just go out there and try to execute your pitches and good things are going to happen."

Harang (6-2) didn't allow a walk, retired 14 in a row between the second and seventh innings in his ninth career complete game. He threw 105 pitches, 75 for strikes.

"That's what you want to try to do every time, throw strikes," Harang said. "You throw strikes, obviously, good things happen."

Alex Gonzalez had three hits and two RBI for the Reds, who've won three in a row for the first time in a month. Norris Hopper also had three hits and scored twice on hits by Gonzalez.

Hopper began the season on the disabled list with a bruised heel and returned on April 18. He replaced center fielder Ryan Freel, who's on the 15-day disabled list after sustaining a concussion in a collision with Hopper on Monday.

So far, Hopper is making the most of his opportunity, with six hits in the series from the leadoff spot.

"I've been waiting for a chance all year to get out there and show them what I can do," Hopper said.

Carlos Lee and Adam Everett had RBI for the Astros, who've scored four runs or fewer in each of their 10 straight losses. Houston lost 11 in a row in August 1995.

"I don't ever remember it being quite this bad," Houston manager Phil Garner said. "This is getting borderline stupid, too. We stung the ball really well and got nothing for it. Guys went to the plate and just didn't get anything."

The Reds scored three runs in the first inning off Wandy Rodriguez (2-5), all after manager Jerry Narron was ejected by plate umpire Bill Welke.

Hopper led off the game with a double to left-center and Narron was thrown out two pitches later for arguing a called strike on Gonzalez.

"I'm sure he felt justified in running me," Narron said, "but I thought it was a little quick."

After Narron stormed off the field, Gonzalez singled to right to score Hopper.

The 28-year-old Hopper is already comfortable in the leadoff spot in the lineup.

"It's pretty easy," he said. "With Gonzalez, Griffey and Dunn hitting behind you, if you get on base, pretty much, you're going to score. That's all I'm trying to do, get on base for those guys."

Ken Griffey Jr. doubled into the left-field corner to make it 2-0. He went to third on Jeff Conine's fly out and jogged home on Adam Dunn's single to center, Dunn's 500th career RBI.

Morgan Ensberg singled in the Astros' first and came home on Lee's double off the left-field wall. Harang got out of the inning by striking out Lance Berkman and Hunter Pence.

"This has just been a pretty frustrating time for us," said Astros second baseman Craig Biggio, who committed two errors. "I have seen a few guys struggle in the past, but not as many as we have right now. We're losing games and we just need to get this monkey off our back."

Notes

  • Hopper doubled twice and went 3-for-4, his second straight three-hit game.
  • Lee leads the NL with 46 RBI.
  • Biggio's 652nd career double was his 2,974th career hit.
  • Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti threw out the first pitch. He and his wife, actress Ashley Judd, visited Texas on Wednesday to promote the IndyCar race in Dallas on June 9. Franchitti was out of his element as he mingled with players during batting practice. "I really haven't watched much baseball," he said. "I've never played it." Judd put on a glove at one point and caught soft throws from the Reds infielders.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Aaron Harang is 6-0 in his last seven starts against the Astros after his first CG of the season. (AP)
Aaron Harang is 6-0 in his last seven starts against the Astros after his first CG of the season. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

A. Gonzalez
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Cincinnati

A. Harang
IP 9.0
H 6
ER 2
BB 0
K 7
 
Cincinnati Reds
Norris Hopper, CF-LF4230110 .321
Alex Gonzalez, SS5132021 .277
Ken Griffey Jr., RF4111112 .285
Jeff Conine, 1B3000103 .275
Adam Dunn, LF4011002 .258
    Dewayne Wise, CF0000000 .000
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4000001 .228
Juan Castro, 2B4000015 .148
David Ross, C4000014 .211
Aaron Harang, P4000021 .154
Totals3648438  
Batting
2B - Norris Hopper 2 (5, Rodriguez, Rodriguez), Alex Gonzalez (12, Borkowski), Ken Griffey Jr. (7, Rodriguez)
RBI - Alex Gonzalez 2 (24), Ken Griffey Jr. (31), Adam Dunn (34)
2-OUT RBI - Alex Gonzalez (10)
CS - Adam Dunn (1, 2nd base by Rodriguez/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Juan Castro (2, Misplayed grounder)
Cincinnati Reds
Aaron Harang (W,6-2) 9632070 4.22
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 105-75
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 11-10
Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 34
Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B4110010 .230
Morgan Ensberg, 3B4110001 .233
Lance Berkman, 1B4001011 .244
Carlos Lee, LF4121000 .313
Hunter Pence, CF4000021 .342
Luke Scott, RF4000002 .226
Adam Everett, SS4021010 .213
Brad Ausmus, C2000010 .235
   a- Mike Lamb, PH1000002 .271
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Wandy Rodriguez, P1000001 .211
   b- Jason Lane, PH1000010 .167
    Dave Borkowski, P0000000 .000
   c- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1000002 .158
    Humberto Quintero, C0000000 .237
Totals3436307  
a-popped out for Ausmus in the 7th
b-struck out for Rodriguez in the 5th
c-lined out for Borkowski in the 7th
Batting
2B - Craig Biggio (15, Harang), Carlos Lee (15, Harang)
RBI - Lance Berkman (25), Carlos Lee (46), Adam Everett (10)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Lee (20)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Hunter Pence 1
E - Lance Berkman (4, Missed catch of throw), Craig Biggio 2 (4, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Wandy Rodriguez (L,2-5) 5733240 4.53
Dave Borkowski 2111100 3.68
Chad Qualls 1000020 3.86
Brad Lidge 1000020 2.92
Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 91-58, Dave Borkowski 32-21, Chad Qualls 17-12, Brad Lidge 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 3-9, Dave Borkowski 3-2, Chad Qualls 1-1, Brad Lidge 1-0
Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 25, Dave Borkowski 7, Chad Qualls 4, Brad Lidge 3
Game Information
Attendance - 31904
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Bill Welke, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - Rob Drake