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Valentin hits walk-off single as Reds halt three-game skid

Jul 24, 2007 - 3:39 AM CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Javier Valentin hit a walk-off pinch-hit single in the 12th inning to help the Cincinnati Reds snap a three-game skid in a 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.

Valentin drove a ball into right field to score pinch runner Norris Hopper after the beleagured Cincinnati bullpen came through with a solid performance.

Jeff Conine led off the inning by drawing a walk off Balfour (0-2) and Pedro Lopez also walked. David Ross then sacrificed the runners setting the stage for Valentin, who hit the first pitch he saw into right, scoring Hopper with the winning run.

Jared Burton (1-1) picked up the win by gettting the final two outs of the 12th as the Cincinnati bullpen, which entered the game with a National-League worst 5.11 ERA performed admirably.

After watching Balfour walk the first two hitters Valentin had a game plan and it worked.

"In that situation he has to throw a strike. I'm going to go with a first-pitch fastball," Valentin said.

Balfour spent all of last season on the Cincinnati disabled list and worked two years to get back to the major leagues.

"I'd better do something quick, I guess," Balfour said. "I'd been throwing strikes all year and I come up here and I need to get back to doing that, quick."

After Aaron Harang threw 10 dominating innings, closer David Weathers worked out of a none out bases-loaded jam in the 11th to keep the game tied at 1-1.

Weather's jammed Estrada and got a huge 3-2-3 double play, but hit Geoff Jenkins to re-load the bases. Weathers then got Kevin Mench to escape unscathed.

"You've got to score a run there," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "Nobody has been doing anything offensively. We're just struggling to find holes right now."

Meanwhile Harang, who just came off the bereavement list, became just the second pitcher in the majors to throw more than nine innings, joining Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, who accomplished the feat when he beat Detroit on April 13 by hurling a 10-inning complete game.

Harang, who has won nine of his last 12 starts, allowed just one run and seven hits with a a season-high tying 10 strikeouts without a walk. He became the first Cincinnati pitcher to throw 10 innings since Rick Mahler in 1989.

"What a masterful job," interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "What a horse. I love watching him pitch. He's special. He hasn't gotten the credit he deserves."

The reigning National League strikeout king left to an ovation in the 10th after striking out Corey Hart with runners on first and second.

"I was getting ahead early and made the pitches I wanted to," Harang said. "I only went 3-2 to one guy. There were a lot of times that I got guys on two pitches. They asked me after the ninth if I was OK. I told them I felt great."

Harang allowed only two runs in 7 2/3 in his last start in Atlanta before leaving for the funeral of his grandfather, Dusty in San Diego.

"I found out before that game on Wednesday but I knew he was with me," Harang said. "He wouldn't have wanted me to miss a start." One of Harang's only mistakes was a 2-0 pitch that rookie Ryan Braun deposited over the left field wall in the fourth to tie the game at 1-1. For Braun, it was the second homer in three days and tied him with Ryan Howard for the most in July at eight.

However, after the homer Harang was nearly unhittable, retiring 16 straight before allowing a pair of hits in the ninth.

Harang threw a season-high tying 121 pitches - 87 for strikes - but the Reds failed to muster much support against Chris Capuano, who was nearly as impressive.

Capuano was 0-6 with a 9.58 ERA in his last 10 starts and Milwaukee had lost each of those starts, but in this one he resembled the pitcher that started the season 5-0 with a 2.31 ERA.

The 28-year-old lefthander allowed one run and seven hits in eight innings with seven strikeouts. Capuano fell behind 1-0 when Ross hit a solo homer to left for his 15th homer of the season in the third.

"He's not pitching with much luck right now," Yost said. "He gave us eight strong innings, really good innings. He tried to go with a fastball up to Ross, and he got a hold of it, dadgummit. Besides that, he was really, really good."

Prince Fielder had a pair of hits for Milwaukee, which has lost three of its last four games.






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  • NL
    FINAL 12
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
    - - - - - - - - -
    MILWAUKEE 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
    CINCINNATI 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
    10 11 12 R H E
    -- -- -- - - -
    MILWAUKEE 0 0 0 1 8 0
    CINCINNATI 0 0 1 2 9 1 (FINAL 12)

    BATTERIES: MIL

    Jul 23 10:19 PM


  • NL
    AT CINCINNATI - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JAVIER VALENTIN SCORED NORRIS HOPPER.
    FINAL SCORE: CINCINNATI 2, MILWAUKEE 1

    Brewers vs. RedsJul 23 10:19 PM
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  • NL
    AT CINCINNATI - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY RYAN BRAUN (16) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    4TH OFF AARON HARANG.
    CURRENT SCORE: MILWAUKEE 1, CINCINNATI 1
    DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: P FIELDER (.283, 1-FOR-1)

    Brewers vs. RedsJul 23 7:50 PM


  • NL
    AT CINCINNATI - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DAVID ROSS (15) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF CHRIS CAPUANO.
    CURRENT SCORE: MILWAUKEE 0, CINCINNATI 1
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: A HARANG (.114, 0 HR, 2 RBI)

    Brewers vs. RedsJul 23 7:43 PM
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