Harang dominant in return, hands Dodgers yet another shutoutAug 9, 2007 - 3:40 AM CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Aaron Harang has dealt with a handful over the last month, so facing the Los Angeles Dodgers' struggling offense in 97-degree heat was easy by comparison.
Harang tossed eight scoreless innings and Ken Griffey, Jr. had two hits as the Cincinnati Reds won their fourth straight game, downing the Dodgers, 1-0, on Wednesday.
After leaving his last start early with an injury, missing his last scheduled start due to a sore back and dealing with the death of his grandfather in mid-July, Harang (11-3) had little trouble dealing with a Los Angeles offense that was shut out for the third consecutive game for the first time since 1966 and the fourth time in its last five games.
"They are in the middle of that (National League West Division) race," Reds manager Pete Mackanin said. "We are catching them at the right time. You have to take advantage of a team like them when they're not swinging the bat well."
"I was looking at the Reds' bullpen before the game (and) I saw two big men walk through that gate and either one of them could have shut us out tonight," said Dodger manager Grady Little of the 6-8 Harang and the 6-5 (Reds pitching coach) Dick Pole. "We're in it bad right now."
The reigning National League strikeout king yielded just four hits and a walk with eight strikeouts to record his sixth win in his last seven decisions. Not including the start he left after one inning due to injury on July 28 against the Chicago Cubs, Harang has struck out at least eight batters in five straight contests.
"I felt great," Harang said. "After each inning, I'd walk back in the tunnel and cool off a little then I'd move around and drink a lot of water to stay loose. I was a little worried in the bullpen. I was missing my spots but I felt like I was right on when the game started, hitting my spots. My breaking ball had a down break."
Griffey provided all the offense the Reds needed in the third with an RBI single up the middle to score Scott Hatteberg. The 13-time All-Star singled again in the seventh for the Reds, who won their fourth straight game and won for just the seventh time in 33 opportunities when their offense scored fewer than three runs.
Closer David Weathers took over in the ninth after 111 pitches from Harang and pitched a flawless frame for his 22nd save in 27 chances with help from a spectacular diving stop from second baseman Brandon Phillips, who robbed Jeff Kent of a hit up the middle for the final out.
"Harang pitched phenomenal," catcher David Ross said. "Though anytime you win a 1-0 game you have to point to the defense. Griffey made two good catches and Phillips made a huge play (at the end)."
Chad Billingsley (7-3) took the hard-luck loss, allowing just one run and six hits for the Dodgers, who have been held scoreless for 27 consecutive innings. After winning winning each of his first seven decisions, the righthander has dropped three straight with the last two losses coming in 1-0 games, falling right in line with the struggles of the rest of his team who have lost a season-high six in a row.
"You just go out there every inning and try to throw a shutout," Billingsley said. "That's the way it goes sometimes. You can't explain it."
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
LA DODGERS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
CINCINNATI 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 x 1 8 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: LOS - CHAD BILLINGSLEY, SCOTT PROCTOR (6TH), JONATHAN BROXTON (8TH)
AND RUSSELL MARTIN
CIN - AARON HARANG, DAVID WEATHERS (9TH) AND DAVID ROSS
HOME RUNS: LOS - NO
Aug 8 9:39 PM
AT CINCINNATI - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY KEN GRIFFEY JR SCORED SCOTT HATTEBERG.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K GRIFFEY JR ON FIRST, 1 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 0
CINCINNATI 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: B PHILLIPS (.278, 0-FOR-1)
Dodgers vs. RedsAug 8 7:56 PM
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