Harang gets victory as Reds beat Rockies 8-5

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DENVER (AP)—Aaron Harang has been going through a nightmare season. On Friday night, he got a brief respite from his struggles.

Harang pitched out of a bases loaded, no-out jam to get his first win in more than two months as the Cincinnati Reds routed the Colorado Rockies 8-5 on Friday night.

“He was dealing tonight,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I was so glad to get him that win. It had been a long, long time.”

Harang (4-13) scattered six hits over six innings to get his first win since beating Boston on June 13, a span of seven starts. He spent four weeks on the disabled list, and he said straightening out his mechanics was more important than ending a two-month winless drought.

“I wasn’t too worried about that,” Harang said. “I was worried about getting myself back into a normal rhythm.”

Thanks to Brandon Phillips’ two-run homer in the first and a four-run fourth, Harang was in cruise control. He had an 7-0 lead before the Rockies mounted a serious rally, loading the bases with no outs in the fifth and their 3-4-5 hitters coming to bat. Matt Holliday nearly cleared the bases with a shot down the right field line that curved foul.

“That’s a huge situation,” Harang said. “He hit that ball hard down the right field line. When he hit it I was a little worried, but with the spin on it I could tell it was going to go foul.”

After that scare, Harang got Holliday to pop out to shortstop and then struck out Brad Hawpe and Garret Atkins.

“Anytime you can work through the heart of that lineup with no outs and the bases loaded and come out with no runs, you’ve done something,” Baker said.

Livan Hernandez (1-2) didn’t fare as well, allowing eight hits and six earned runs in 3 2-3 innings. In three starts since joining the Rockies on Aug. 10, Hernandez has a 15.32 ERA. In his two Coors Field starts, Hernandez has allowed 15 runs in 6 1-3 innings and failed to get out of the fourth inning in either.

“He’s pitched better in the past and we need better from him to keep him in the rotation,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “We got him to pitch innings. Now more often than not the bullpen has had to pick up quite a few innings.”

Cincinnati chased Hernandez in the fourth inning Friday, scoring four runs on five singles. Chris Dickerson’s two-run single made it 6-0 and ended Hernandez’s night.

“I know I don’t pitch good and I said I’m sorry to the organization because the last two starts here are horrible,” Hernandez said. “I know I have to pitch better than that.”

Cincinnati scored runs in the fifth and seventh to extend the lead to 8-0.

“We were seeing a whole lot of balls that were moving,” Phillips said. “We were hitting the balls that weren’t moving.”

Colorado finally broke through against reliever Gary Majewski in the seventh. Holliday singled to bring home Willy Taveras, Atkins doubled to left-center and Ian Stewart, who had a career-high four hits, singled to make it 8-3.

The Rockies scored twice in the eighth to cut the lead to 8-5, and they had runners on second and third in the ninth before Francisco Cordero closed the door for his 25th save in 31 chances.

“It’s never easy in this ballpark,” Baker said.

The Reds took the lead in the first when Keppinger singled to shortstop and Phillips followed with his 21st homer.

Notes

Reds RHP Josh Fogg and LHP Jeremy Affeldt received their NL Championship rings before the start of the game. Affeldt and Fogg were part of the Rockies’ World Series team last season. … Taveras stole his major league-leading 60th base. … Reds RHP Jared Burton (strained right latissimus muscle) threw 30 pitches in a simulated session Friday. Burton has been on the DL since July 10.

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