Final in 14

Series: Game 1 of 3

Cincinnati leads 1-0 (as of 7/30)

Game 1: Friday, July 30
in 14
Game 2: Saturday, July 31
Game 3: Sunday, August 1
in 10

Astros 2

(51-52, 24-25 away)

Reds 3

(51-52, 29-21 home)

    7:10 PM ET, July 30, 2004

    Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio 

    R H E
    HOU - -
    CIN - -

    W: J. Hancock (1-1)

    L: C. Harville (0-1)

    Bagwell's single ties game before skies open up

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- Relentless thunderstorms kept the Reds' losing streak rumblin' along for one more night.

    Houston's Jeff Bagwell singled home the tying run in the top of the sixth inning Friday, and a third rain delay forced the umpires to call a suspended game between the Astros and Reds.

    It will resume Saturday at 11:30 a.m. with the score tied at 2 and two Astros on base in the top of the sixth. The regularly scheduled game for Saturday will then follow.

    A series of storms left the Reds with one more night to fret over their longest losing streak of the season -- eight straight and holding.

    A quirk of nature prevented them from breaking it Friday night.

    Adam Dunn hit his 29th homer in the second inning and Felipe Lopez hit his first homer off Astros starter Pete Munro in the bottom of the fifth. If the next storm had moved in at that point, the Reds could have won a shortened game 2-1.

    "You're looking at seconds, one way or the other," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "The field was getting wet. It was probably a matter of just a few minutes."

    The clouds hung on the horizon for a few more minutes -- just enough time for the Astros to tie it.

    "That was the longest outing I've ever had," said Reds starter Aaron Harang, who threw during the first two delays. "It's hard to start and stop and sit for half an hour. I'm wiped. I might ask my wife to drive home. I might fall asleep in the car."

    Harang hit Adam Everett with a pitch to open the sixth, then retired the next two batters. Jeff Kent -- playing while his three-game suspension is appealed -- then drew a walk, and heavy rain returned while Bagwell was at bat.

    "The last inning, I started sweating so bad, and then the rain started," Harang said. "A couple of pitches just missed. The pitch to Bagwell, I wanted it inside, but it stayed over the middle of the plate. He hit it hard."

    Bagwell lined a single to center to tie it, and the umpires immediately called for the tarp. The radar showed a big batch of rain moving in, setting up the suspension.

    "We have a chance tomorrow to win it," Bagwell said. "That's not the best kind of night to play in, but at least we didn't get a loss, too."

    Both starters waited out earlier delays of 41 and 27 minutes, handling the staccato pace quite well.

    Kent was in the starting lineup and went 0-for-2 with the walk. The second baseman was suspended three games Friday for his outburst over a strike call, but is playing until the appeal is heard.

    Harang didn't allow a hit until Everett opened the fourth with a single, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. He came around on Carlos Beltran's double.

    Beltran advanced on a wild pitch, but was thrown out at home while trying to score on Kent's grounder to Lopez at shortstop.

    Lopez snapped a 1-all tie with a homer over the 8-foot wall in center field in the bottom of the fifth, the diminutive shortstop's first homer since May 1 last year. Lopez has spent most of the last two seasons in the minors.

    From the outset, the teams figured it would be a stop-and-start affair.

    Harang threw only five pregame warmups before a downpour prompted plate umpire Tim Welke to call for the tarp. It was another 41 minutes before Harang threw the game's first pitch.

    A brief downpour halted the game for 27 minutes in the middle of the third inning. Reds reliever Todd Jones entertained fans by tossing bubble gum and packages of sunflower seeds into the stands behind the dugouts. He also lobbed several baseballs and handed over a couple of bats.

    It turned out to be Jones' last appearance with the Reds, who were completing a four-player trade with the Phillies during the delay.

    Game notes

    Astros LHP Andy Pettitte felt good on Friday, a day after he tested his left elbow. Manager Phil Garner expects him to make his scheduled start Saturday against the Reds. Pettitte had to leave his start Monday against Arizona in the fifth inning because his elbow was bothering him. ... SS Barry Larkin was out of the Reds' lineup for the fifth straight game because of a strained muscle in his side. He was available to pinch-hit. ... OF Darren Bragg signed a minor league deal with Cincinnati.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press