Series: Game 3 of 3

Cincinnati won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, August 18
Game 2: Saturday, August 19
Game 3: Sunday, August 20

Pirates 1

(47-77, 15-47 away)

Reds 5

(64-60, 33-32 home)

    1:15 PM ET, August 20, 2006

    Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio 

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    PIT 000100000 1 6 0
    CIN 00410000 - 5 11 1

    W: A. Harang (13-8)

    L: V. Santos (5-8)

    Reds beat Pirates to maintain wild-card lead

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- All Scott Hatteberg needed to regain his focus was a day off.

    The Cincinnati first baseman drove in three runs with a home run and a double to snap his worst slump of the season and lift the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Adam Dunn also homered and Aaron Harang pitched seven strong innings to help the Reds maintain their lead in the National League wild-card race. Cincinnati went into Sunday leading Arizona by a game and trailing St. Louis by 2½ in the Central Division. The Cardinals beat the Cubs 5-3 at Chicago Sunday.

    Hatteberg followed Ryan Freel's leadoff single in the third with his 12th homer of the season to snap a 0-for-17 slump, his longest streak of hitless at bats since he was 0-for-18 last August 14-25 for Oakland.

    "Hatteberg needed a day off bad," manager Jerry Narron said of the left-handed hitter. "I think it might've helped him. We'd faced a long string of right-handers, and he definitely needed to sit out."

    "It probably helped me mentally more than anything," said Hatteberg, who drove in Jason LaRue with Cincinnati's fifth run on an opposite-field double that reached the warning track in left field in the fourth. "It was nice for me personally to help out. The last four days, I struggled, and you want to help out at this time of year.

    "My timing was all messed up," he added. "When your timing's off, you feel bad. I felt better today."

    Edwin Encarnacion followed Hatteberg's homer with a walk and Dunn hit his 37th homer of the season into the first row of the right field seats to make it 4-0.

    After allowing the first two batters to reach base, Aaron Harang (13-8) settled down. He struck out Freddy Sanchez, the league's leading hitter, All-Star starter Jason Bay, and Jeromy Burnitz to end the first inning. All three struck out swinging on fastballs.

    "I was able to hit my spots and put the ball where I wanted to," Harang said. "That's a big part of their lineup. They've hurt us the past couple of days, but I was able to get out of it."

    "He's got a good fastball," Narron said. "He's got deception and late movement, and that gives him a chance to get guys out.

    "We needed seven innings out of our starter, and we got it," Narron added.

    Harang, who'd allowed five earned runs in each of his previous two starts, gave up just one run and five hits with nine strikeouts. His career-high 13 wins are the most by a Reds pitcher since Jimmy Haynes went 15-10 in 2002.

    "I did some work this week on my mechanics," he said. "I was getting out early, and my front side was flying open, and my arm was having a tough time catching up. I was dropping my elbow, so we did some tinkering."

    "Basically, today (the Reds) had one offensive inning," Tracy said. "Give credit to Aaron Harang. We had a good opportunity. We started out the game the way we wanted to, but we couldn't get anything going."

    Victor Santos (5-8) gave up five runs and 10 hits in five innings. He matched a season high with seven strikeouts and walked two.

    Bay led off Pittsburgh's fourth with his 27th homer of the season and second in two games for the Pirates' only run of the game.

    Game notes

    Sanchez, the Pirates third baseman, went 0-for-4 to see his hitting streak snapped at 11 games. He is hitting .352. ... The Reds placed LHP Eddie Guardado on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his left forearm and activated RHP Matt Belisle from the disabled list. Belisle had been sidelined since July 14 with lower back spasms. ... The Reds also placed LHP Chris Michalak on the bereavement list following the death of his 102-year-old grandmother and purchased the contract of IF-OF Norris Hopper from Triple-A Louisville. He had a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning in his first career plate appearance.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press