Harang throws six-hitter as Reds beat Cards
Harang got the St. Louis slugger to ground into a first-inning double play and scattered four hits the rest of the way to complete a six-hitter as the Cincinnati Reds sent the Cardinals to their seventh straight loss with a 3-0 win Wednesday night.
Andy Phillips and Jay Bruce opened the fourth inning with consecutive home runs and Paul Janish added the first of his career later in the inning to help Harang to his first win since Aug. 22, snapping a personal losing streak that had left him 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA in his previous four starts.
Harang allowed singles to the first two batters he faced before Pujols grounded to third baseman Andy Phillips, who started the double play, and Ryan Ludwick ended the threat with a fly ball.
“I knew he would be coming up trying to drive the ball someplace,” said Harang, who threw 111 pitches—79 strikes—in his first shutout since beating Pittsburgh 4-0 on Aug. 29, 2007. “I knew if I made a good pitch right there, I had a shot at getting out of it. It was a slider, down-and-away. I made him chase it. The key thing is it was down.”
Pujols went 0-for-4 and is hitless in his last eight at-bats since a 10-game hitting streak.
“You hate to see Albert Pujols up in that kind of situation, but (Harang) made a heck of a pitch,” said Reds manager Dusty Baker, whose team has won four straight and seven of nine.
The Cardinals were shutout for the fifth time this season while extending their longest losing streak since they lost nine straight last September.
“When you’re not hitting, you can’t afford to give up runs,” St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa said.
St. Louis starter Todd Wellemeyer (12-8) didn’t allow a hit until Phillips led off the fourth inning with a home run to center, his second of the season. Bruce followed with another homer to center, his 19th this year. Janish connected two outs later.
“It’s awesome,” said Janish, whose homer bounced off the top of the left field wall and into the stands. “I hadn’t had an at-bat in a while, but for some reason, I was seeing the ball well. I wasn’t sure it was out.”
“The pitches weren’t that good, but you don’t expect them all to go out, and they did,” Wellemeyer said. “I’m not disappointed. I’m surprised.”
Three homers were more than enough for Harang (5-16), who didn’t walk anybody and had four strikeouts for his fifth career shutout.
“He looked good tonight, unfortunately for us,” said St. Louis catcher Jason LaRue, Harang’s former teammate with the Reds. “He was using all of his pitches, and he had pinpoint control. He was throwing the ball wherever he wanted. That’s what makes him good.”
The slumping Wellemeyer is 1-4 in his last five starts and has given up all three sets of back-to-back home runs allowed by St. Louis this season. The right-hander allowed just one other hit besides the home runs—Harang’s fourth-inning single. Wellemeyer walked two and struck out six. ^Notes: 3B Edwin Encarnacion was scratched from Cincinnati’s original starting lineup with a sore wrist. Phillips replaced Encarnacion at third base and in the cleanup slot. … St. Louis’ Brendan Ryan start in right field was the first of his career.