<
>

Hatteberg sparks three-run eighth to lift Reds past Nats

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Reds manager Jerry Narron said he always feels
comfortable when Scott Hatteberg is at the plate, and the
Cincinnati first baseman showed why Wednesday night.

Hatteberg hit a bases-loaded, two-run double in the eighth
inning to lift the Reds over the Washington Nationals 9-6.

Adam Dunn led off the eighth against left-hander Mike Stanton
(1-4) with a walk and moved to third on Austin Kearns' double.
Chris Denorfia was intentionally walked and Hatteberg doubled over
the head of center fielder Marlon Byrd.

"Stanton's a good pitcher," said Hatteberg, one of four Reds
with two RBI. "He's got kind of a herky-jerky motion, but I was
able to see past that. I'm not looking to drive the ball there as
much as just get it to the outfield. We're looking for one run. He
left a breaking ball up and out over the plate, and I was able to
find a gap.

"This was one of those games where it seemed like last ups was
going to come away with it," he added.

Brandon Phillips followed with a sacrifice fly to give David
Weathers (1-1) some breathing room after Weathers gave up the
game-tying hit to Matt LeCroy in the eighth. He worked a scoreless
ninth.

"It's frustrating, period," Nationals manager Frank Robinson
said. "We're still giving up runs in the seventh and eighth
inning. When you walk the first batter, it's not good. (Stanton)
had two left-handers to get out, and he didn't get either one of
them. When you don't win the ballgame, you don't get points for
coming back."

Dunn also hit a two-run homer and Felipe Lopez stole a
career-high four bases as the Reds (22-12) stayed in first place in
the NL Central. Kearns tied a career high with four hits and also
drove in two runs.

"Kearns has been consistent all year, and (Lopez) is just an
outstanding offensive player," Narron said.

Reds starter Aaron Harang was denied in his bid for a sixth
consecutive victory. He gave up nine hits and four runs in six
innings, striking out five and walking one.

Washington starter Livan Hernandez (1-5) allowed nine hits and
five runs. He walked four and struck out six while remaining
winless since April 8. He has walked four batters in each of his
last three starts.

The Reds stole six bases for the first time since Aug. 16, 2002,
against Houston.

Nick Johnson snapped a 5-for-37 slump and gave Washington a 2-0
first-inning lead with his ninth home run of the season, but Dunn
tied it in the bottom of the inning with his 12th homer.

The Reds added a run in the inning when Kearns, running with two
outs, scored from second on Phillips' infield single up the middle.

Royce Clayton tied it at 3 with a sacrifice fly in the third
inning but Kearns singled in Lopez in the bottom half. The Reds
added a run in the fourth when Lopez singled, stole second and
scored on Kearns' base hit.

Kearns, who was 5-for-10 in his career against Hernandez going
into the game, batted fourth for just the fifth time this season.

"It's always good when you're feeling good at the plate," said
Kearns, who's hitting .500 (20-for-40) over his last 11 games.
"We've been scuffling as a team. We've got to find a way to get
some wins. Tonight, we picked up the pitching. They've been doing
it for us all year."

Byrd cut the deficit to 5-4 in the fifth with his second homer
of the season.

Game notes
C Brian Schneider made his first appearance since leaving
Saturday's game with tightness in his left hamstring. ... Dunn's
home run gave him 400 career RBI. ... Reds leadoff hitter Ryan
Freel second in the sixth for his first stolen base in 17 games,
dating back to April 18. ... Hernandez was called out for
interference, costing Schneider a stolen base, in the second inning
after plate umpire Sam Holbrook ruled the pitcher's swing
interfered with catcher Jason LaRue's throw to second base. ...
Kearns had four hits in a game for the third time in his career.
... Freel swiped a team-record five bases July 27 at Los Angeles.