CINCINNATI (AP) -- Fans started booing the moment Cincinnati Reds
manager Dave Miley set foot on the field, determined to take Aaron
Harang out of the game.
They had a feeling something bad was about to happen again.
Harang, the most dependable pitcher in the majors' most hittable
rotation, took a shutout into the eighth inning Friday night, then
handed it over to a rickety bullpen. This time, it held on for a
2-1 interleague victory over the Cleveland Indians that was
draining and dramatic.
"It's a great feeling to go out there and finally save one for
him," closer Danny Graves said. "It's very relieving -- no pun
intended -- for the relievers to help him out tonight."
Harang (3-2) allowed only four hits and struck out a season-high
nine in 7 1/3 innings, baffling the American League's
least-productive lineup before leaving his fate up to a bullpen
that has already cost him three wins.
"I believe in the guys in the bullpen," Harang said. "The
luck hasn't been going our way. Hopefully tonight will be a
Graves, who has lashed out at fans for booing during the Reds'
downturn, came on and struck out Travis Hafner to end the threat.
Graves then gave up a pair of hits in the ninth before getting
Casey Blake to end it with a ground out, securing his 10th save in
Dunn's 12th homer off Kevin Millwood (1-4) ended the scoreless
tie with two outs in the sixth and kept the right-hander stuck on
99 career wins. Joe Randa had three of the six hits off Millwood,
who lasted six innings and got the loss despite making only one bad
Asked if he was frustrated by the lack of run support, Millwood
said, "Not at all. My whole thing is to give us a chance. If I do
that, there's not much else I can do. I can't get frustrated or
angry at these guys. They're all working really hard to get this
Lopez hit his fifth homer off David Riske in the seventh,
providing the decisive run.
The annual interleague series once drew some of the biggest
crowds at the two ballparks. Both teams have fallen on hard times,
so their first get-together of 2005 wasn't a hot ticket.
Only 25,412 bought tickets to see the Indians -- second-to-last
in the AL Central -- face the Reds -- last in the NL Central -- in a
matchup of extreme teams.
The Indians had the majors' worst offense, hitting only .238.
The Reds had the majors' worst pitching staff, allowing batters to
hit .306 with 62 homers.
Harang made the difference. The Indians got only five balls out
of the infield in the first seven innings off Harang, who left with
two runners aboard in the eighth.
"Harang pitched a good game, but we had pitches to hit,"
Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "When we do get good pitches, we
foul them off or take them. When they nibble, we're biting. It's
Indians third baseman Aaron Boone, back in Cincinnati for the
first time since he was traded during a midseason payroll purge in
2003, was cheered during pregame introductions but had an otherwise
forgettable game. He went 1-for-4 and struck out twice with runners
The Reds had a chance to break open a scoreless game in the
third, when they loaded the bases on Lopez's single and a pair of
walks. Ken Griffey Jr. then lined a ball toward right, but second
baseman Ronnie Belliard made a diving catch on the edge of the
outfield grass to snuff out the threat.
Cleveland leads the intrastate series 19-15. ... Boone had
lunch with Reds buddies Sean Casey and Dunn at a restaurant that
was one of his favorites when he played in Cincinnati. ... Indians
C Victor Martinez went 0-for-3, extending his slump to 0-for-18.
... Reds INF Ryan Freel had a stiff back, so William Bergolla was
at second base, making his first big league start. ... OF Austin
Kearns went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts on his 25th birthday.
... The Reds haven't won any of their last 10 series, their longest
such skid since 1989, when they went 13 straight series without
winning one. ... Wedge got his second ejection of the season in the
ninth inning, when plate umpire Bill Welke called a strike on
bunting Jhonny Peralta as he tried to get out of the way of an