<
>

Reds' 10-game winner Harang handcuffs Rockies

CINCINNATI (AP) -- The first performance by Cincinnati's revamped
bullpen left a lot of people happy.

Aaron Harang pitched seven shutout innings to become the Reds'
first 10-game winner, and the bullpen held on Friday night for a
3-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies that left 22,497 fans on
their feet celebrating a welcomed change.

Folks inside the clubhouse were smiling, too.

"I'm pretty excited," manager Jerry Narron said. "This gives
us a chance to compete. I'm looking forward to seeing how this
works out."

So far, so good.

Cincinnati had slipped four games behind St. Louis in the NL
Central with a 1-8 slump heading into the All-Star break. In the
last two days, the Reds have made an eight-player trade and won
both of their games.

"We're only going to be as good as our bullpen is," said
recently acquired closer Eddie Guardado, who got his second save in
as many nights. "You saw it today."

The Rockies have dropped five straight, a midseason stumble that
cost them ground in the wide-open NL West. The latest loss left
Colorado below .500 (44-45) for the first time since June 23.

Adam Dunn homered on a pitch he wasn't supposed to reach, and
Harang again had his way with the Rockies, who couldn't get a feel
for his fastball. The right-hander struck out a career-high 12 at
Coors Field on May 4 in a 7-1 win.

"We couldn't get to Harang," said right fielder Brad Hawpe,
who had his 10-game hitting streak snapped. "He has one of the
tougher fastballs in the league. It's only 90 or 91 mph, but he
hides it real good. It feels like it's harder than 91."

Harang (10-6) has been overshadowed by right-hander Bronson Arroyo, who was acquired in a March trade and represented the Reds
in the All-Star game on Tuesday. But Harang has been just as
productive pitching at the top of the rotation.

He allowed three hits in seven innings, moving one victory ahead
of Arroyo for the team lead. Harang also leads the staff with an
NL-high four complete games.

The new-look bullpen took it from there.

Newcomer Gary Majewski gave up Todd Helton's sacrifice fly in
the eighth. Guardado, acquired from Seattle in a trade a week ago,
pitched a perfect ninth for his second save in Cincinnati.

"I know we've got everybody going in the right direction,"
Harang said.

Dunn reached for a low 0-2 pitch from Jason Jennings (6-7) and
sent it barely beyond the right-field wall in the first inning for
his 29th homer. The solo shot was only the third homer Jennings has
allowed in his last seven starts.

"It really wasn't a bad pitch," manager Clint Hurdle said.
"He's a big, strong man that went down and got a ball out of the
zone and dropped it into the second row of seats."

Jennings gave up three runs -- only two earned -- in six innings,
adding to his stretch of solid performances over the last two
months.

A few hours before the first pitch, the Reds made acquaintance
with three high-priced acquisitions who arrived from Washington,
D.C., on the same commuter flight.

The Reds traded everyday outfielder Austin Kearns and shortstop
Felipe Lopez to the Nationals on Thursday in an eight-player swap
focused on the bullpen. Left-hander Bill Bray and the right-handed
Majewski are counted on to stabilize one of the majors' worst
relief corps.

The Reds also acquired shortstop Royce Clayton, who drove in a
run with a groundout in his second at-bat. Jason LaRue's
run-scoring single made it 3-0 in the sixth.

But it was the bullpen that the fans were eager to see. Harang
made sure it didn't have to do much to make a good impression.

Bray started warming up in the seventh, then sat down when
Harang pitched out of a two-on threat. Majewski gave up a pair of
hits and a run while retiring two batters in the eighth, but Kent
Mercker got Hawpe on a called third strike to end the inning. Hawpe
was ejected by plate umpire Joe West for disagreeing with the
call.

Game notes
Cory Sullivan started in center for the Rockies instead of
Choo Freeman, who is in a 3-for-19 slump. ... RHP Paul Wilson threw
82 pitches in six innings Friday for the Reds' Sarasota farm team.
Wilson is on a rehab assignment, recovering from shoulder surgery
13 months ago. ... Reds 3B Rich Aurilia extended his hitting streak
to eight games with a first-inning single. ... 2B Brandon Phillips
broke an 0-for-16 slump, his longest of the season. ... The Rockies
didn't hit a homer, ending the Reds' streak of giving up at least
one in 14 consecutive games -- three shy of the club record.