<
>

Reds snap eight-game skid at Bank One

PHOENIX (AP) -- Aaron Harang feels right at home in the National
League. Ryan Freel feels the same about being in the big leagues.

Harang outpitched Randy Johnson, and Freel hit his first major
league home run as the Cincinnati Reds snapped a nine-game losing
streak at Bank One Ballpark, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-0
Wednesday night.

Juan Castro had an RBI double for the Reds, who hadn't won in
Phoenix since May 7, 2001.

The loss kept the Diamondbacks from making up ground on
Philadelphia in the National League wild-card race. They remained
3{ games behind the Phillies, who lost to Milwaukee 10-1, with
their fifth loss in seven games.

Freel, who also singled in three at-bats against Johnson, was so
locked-in that the fastball he hit out didn't look overly fast.

"Big time," Freel said. "You know, I was thinking the whole
game, 'I got my first home run off somebody like that.' I'm
excited."

Harang (3-0) remained perfect as a starter for the Reds, who
acquired him and two other pitchers from Oakland for outfielder
Jose Guillen on July 30.

The right-hander, who improved to 9-7 in his career, held the
Diamondbacks to four hits and no walks in seven scoreless innings.
Last Thursday, he beat Arizona 3-2 in Cincinnati.

Harang pitched a 1-2-3 first inning, allowed a leadoff single to
Luis Gonzalez in the second and then retired 11 in a row before
Junior Spivey singled with two outs in the fifth. Spivey also stole
second, but Harang got Chad Moeller, the next batter, on a
grounder.

Ryan Wagner gave up a hit in the eighth and Chris Reitsma gave
up a double to Alex Cintron in the ninth to complete the
six-hitter.

Reitsma struck out Shea Hillenbrand with runners on first and
third for his third save in eight chances.

Harang matched his career high for innings pitched, but wanted
more.

"I haven't gotten an opportunity all season, or even earlier,
to have that low pitch count (85) that far in the game," he said.
"But I guess they saw something in me and thought, 'OK, let's get
these other guys in and finish this."

Craig Counsell and Raul Mondesi singled in the sixth and
seventh, respectively, but both attempts to rally ended when the
Reds turned double plays. Sean Casey started a 3-6-3 that
eliminated Counsell's threat.

"That one double play we turned, the one that Casey started,
was huge, and then Aaron made the pitches he had to," manager Dave
Miley said.

Johnson (3-6) lasted six innings, giving up two runs on six hits
and a walk, and striking out six. He fell to 2-4 in seven starts
since spending 12 weeks on the disabled list after right-knee
surgery.

But Arizona manager Bob Brenly thought Johnson pitched well
enough.

"It was lack of offense," Brenly said. "You give up two runs,
you should have a chance to win."

The Reds could have scored another run in the second inning but
Kelly Stinnett fell rounding third.

Stinnett hit a one-out double off the center-field wall and
should have scored on Ruben Mateo's bloop single that dropped in
front of Luis Gonzalez in left. But Stinnett, a former Diamondback
who used to catch Johnson instead of hit against him, tripped after
rounding third and was out on a 7-2-5 play.

Mateo, who took second on the putout, scored on Castro's double.

"The ball does tend to find the middle of the plate a little
too much," Johnson said. "I'm giving up a few more hits, but the
way they've been scoring their runs lately is putting multiple hits
together."

Freel, recalled from Triple-A Louisville before the game, made
it 2-0 in the third when he lined a one-out solo shot into the
left-field seats.

It came in his 66th at-bat, 44th in four stints with the Reds
this year. The 27-year-old rookie began his career in the Toronto
organization and saw all his previous big league action in 2001.

Mondesi was ejected in the ninth after he struck out and threw a
bat in the direction of homeplate umpire Mike DiMuro from the
dugout.

Game notes
Barry Larkin played for the first time in six games since
Aug. 12, when he aggravated the scar tissue from hernia surgery.
The game was his 1,998th at SS, leaving him on the verge of
becoming the 14th player to appear in 2,000 at the position. ...
Mondesi had a towering out in the first inning. It went over a
steel roof beam in fair territory, but was scored as a foul pop
when LF Freel caught it in foul ground. ... The Reds are 33-21 when
scoring first.