Colorado (12-17) at Cincinnati (13-16)

Fair Currently: Cincinnati, OH
Temp: 31° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Sat May 5, 2007
  • TV: FSRM, FSOH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Even when Aaron Harang is not at his best, he finds ways to help the Cincinnati Reds win.

The Reds (13-16) hope their ace can help them avoid a fourth straight loss as they continue their three-game series with the Colorado Rockies on Saturday at Great American Ballpark.

Harang (4-0, 4.23 ERA) will try to join Florida’s Dontrelle Willis and the New York MetsJohn Maine as the third five-game winner in the National League. Boston’s Josh Beckett leads the majors with six.

The right-hander allowed five runs, 10 hits and struck out nine in eight innings to win his second in a row in the Reds’ 9-5 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday.

“I think all of us that have seen him pitch know that he’s had better stuff, at times,” manager Jerry Narron told the Red’s official Web site. “But it was great to see him get a win.”

Harang, who is 7-0 in his last nine starts dating to 2006, has allowed five runs in three of his six previous starts, but has managed to avoid major trouble. Last season’s NL strikeout leader (216) is among the league leaders with 36 while walking just nine.

“Sometimes you’re not going to have your best stuff, and you just gotta go out there and battle,” Harang told the Reds’ official Web site.

Harang is 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA in four starts against the Rockies, and threw seven scoreless innings in a 3-1 win on July 14 in his most recent start versus Colorado.

He’ll be counted on to help stop the Reds’ recent skid after Colorado won 6-5 in 11 innings in Friday’s series opener.

Cincinnati’s Ken Griffey Jr. homered Friday for his 567th of his career, leaving him two behind Rafael Palmeiro for ninth on the all-time list. Griffey, who is 4-for-8 with three runs scored and three RBIs in his last two games, has homered in two straight contests.

Rookie shortstop Troy Tulowitzki drove in Willy Taveras with the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th for Colorado (12-17), which has alternated wins and losses in its last five games. The Rockies have not won consecutive games since April 17-18.

“It’s encouraging, but we’ll see how we do tomorrow,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “You’ve got to build some momentum. One game can help, but you’ve got to back it up with something good tomorrow.”

Taveras was 3-for-6 and Todd Helton, who is hitting .381, added a two-run homer for the Rockies. They are just 4-19 in the state of Ohio since the start of 2002 and 3-11 at Great American Ballpark.

Taveras is hitting .421 (8-for-19) in his last four games.

Aaron Cook (0-1, 3.83), who grew up in nearby Hamilton, Ohio, will make his seventh start for the Rockies on Saturday. Colorado’s opening day starter allowed five runs and nine hits in six innings, but did not earn a decision in the Rockies’ 9-7 win over Atlanta on Sunday.

Cook has a 6.59 ERA and no record in four games - three starts - against the Reds.

Though the right-hander has been solid through the first month of the season, Colorado is 1-5 in games Cook has started.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Cook Col vs. A. Harang Atl
8-7 Record 16-6
4.12 ERA 3.73
61 K 218
44 BB 52
1.34 WHIP 1.14

Scoreboard

Saturday, May 5