The Cincinnati right-hander outpitched the Marlins’ left-hander to win for the third time in four August starts and the Reds tied a season high with their fourth straight victory, beating the Florida Marlins 5-3 on Friday night.
“Those are the kinds of games you get up for,” Harang said. “It’s always fun to go out against him. He’s got those odd mechanics, but he’s fun to watch.”
Brandon Phillips had three hits, including a home run, and drove in two for Cincinnati, which won four in a row for the fourth time this season.
“We should’ve been doing this all year,” said Phillips, who fell a double short of the cycle while impressing Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez. “I think we are a winning team, regardless of our record.”
The Reds improved to 58-70.
“Phillips was everywhere,” Gonzalez said. “He’s swinging the bat real well. A lot of those guys are swinging the bats real well.”
Harang (13-3) allowed eight hits and three runs with one walk and five strikeouts in seven innings to improve to 8-1 in his last 17 starts, dating back to May 25. He couldn’t be more dependable, manager Pete Mackanin said.
“You count on him to to give you a good performance,” Mackanin said. “You really feel like you’re going to win the game when he goes out to the mound.”
Javier Valentin drove in the go-ahead run with an infield single in the seventh inning, sending Willis to his 10th loss in his last 11 decisions.
“It’s tough,” Willis said. “We’re competitive until the end.”
With the score tied at 3, Jorge Cantu led off the seventh against Willis with a single to left and moved to third on Edwin Encarnacion’s double. Valentin followed with a grounder to shortstop Hanley Ramirez’s right. Ramirez tried to backhand the ball while sliding on his right knee, but couldn’t come up with it cleanly, allowing Cantu to score the go-ahead run.
Willis (8-13), who had nine consecutive losing decisions before beating Arizona 14-5 on Aug. 14, allowed eight hits and five runs with no walks and three strikeouts in 7 2-3 innings.
Phillips led off the fifth inning with his 24th home run of the season, hitting a 1-1 pitch into the lower deck in left field to snap a scoreless tie.
“He had a monster game, but I still feel like I can get him out,” Willis said.
Encarnacion followed one out later with a bloop single to right field. He came around to score on Valentin’s double to the left-center field wall, extending Valentin’s career-long hitting streak to 14 games.
Harang kept the Marlins scoreless until Jacobs hit a solo homer—his 12th homer of the season—with one out in the sixth. One out later, Jeremy Hermida singled up the middle to extend his hitting streak to eight games, and Treanor followed with a home run off the facade of the second deck in left field to give Florida a 3-2 lead.
Jeff Keppinger tied the game at 3 and extended his career-high hitting streak to 13 games with a home run off the roof over the Reds bullpen bench in left-center field with one out in the sixth, his fourth homer of the season.
The Reds made it 5-3 in the eighth when Willis walked Keppinger with one out and Phillips followed with an RBI triple off reliever Justin Miller.
The Reds placed LHP Bobby Livingston on the 15-day disabled list Friday because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder. RHP Todd Coffey was recalled from Triple-A Louisville. … Reds C David Ross was sent to Louisville on a rehabilitation assignment. Ross has been on the disabled list since August 13 because of a concussion suffered the day before in a home plate collision with San Diego’s Mike Cameron. … Reds LF Adam Dunn, 0-for-10 in his career against Willis, got the night off … Willis’s two hits give him 10 this season, one short of matching the 11 he had last season. His career high is 24 in 2005. … Harang is the first Cincinnati pitcher to win 13 of his first 16 decisions since Tom Seaver in 1981.