The Cincinnati Reds finally figured out a way to win away from home.
They’ll try to close out a frustrating road trip with another victory Sunday when they wrap up a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field.
The Reds (17-26) beat Cleveland 10-5 on Saturday for just their second win in their last 10 road games. Cincinnati improved to 2-6 on their current trip, which also included series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego and ends Sunday.
“If we played the University of Cincinnati right now, it would be a good win,” said reliever David Weathers, who earned his eighth save in nine chances.
Brandon Phillips, who spent the first four seasons of his career with Cleveland before being traded to Cincinnati prior to the 2006 season, hit a three-run homer and extended his hitting streak to 21 games. David Ross also added a three-run homer for the Reds, who had not scored more than five runs in a game during their road trip.
“We got two three-run homers,” manager Jerry Narron said. “I guess it was American League baseball.”
Rookie Josh Hamilton, whose comeback from alcohol and drug addiction has been one of baseball’s most inspiring stories this season, did not play despite being released after he was hospitalized earlier in the day with a stomach problem.
Travis Hafner and Jhonny Peralta homered for the Indians (25-15), who had a four-game winning streak snapped. The loss dropped them back into a virtual tie for first place in the AL Central with Detroit.
Paul Byrd (3-1, 3.49 ERA) will take the mound for Cleveland. He allowed five runs in seven innings of Tuesday’s 15-7 win over Minnesota, bouncing back after not receiving a decision in his previous two starts, both 3-2 losses.
“The offense totally picked us up,” he said. “I gave up two, they came back with six and just didn’t stop.”
Byrd is 3-0 with a 3.79 ERA in three starts at home this year. He is 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA in 13 career appearances, including six starts, against Cincinnati.
The veteran right-hander held the Reds scoreless over 14 total innings in two starts against them last season, going 1-0 in those outings.
Cincinnati will counter with Aaron Harang (5-1, 4.42), who returned to the team Sunday after being placed on bereavement leave Thursday to be with his ailing grandfather.
Harang allowed just one run - on an eighth-inning balk - and two hits in nine innings of Cincinnati’s 12-inning, 2-1 win in San Diego on Tuesday but allowed four walks for the first time since July 19, 2004, ending a string of 88 starts with three or fewer.
Narron said he expects Harang to be fine after his absence from the team.
“If he’s not normal, I don’t expect him to make an excuse,” Narron told the Reds’ official Web site. “I’m sure he will not (make an excuse). I expect him to pitch well.”
Harang had allowed five runs in each of his previous three starts, but was 2-1 over that span. He is getting an average of 7.47 runs of support per outing, the third best average in the NL.
The right-hander has pitched well against the Indians, going 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in five career starts against them.