PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Austin Kearns certainly knows how to snap out
of a slump in style.
"I was just trying to relax and hit the ball hard," Kearns
said. "I felt I hit the ball better (Thursday) in Atlanta."
Since being reinstated from the 60-day disabled list on Aug. 24,
Kearns was batting .236 with three homers and seven RBI and was
only 1-for-8 in the first three games of the Reds' 10-game road
"At least it looked like I had a clue up there instead of two
days ago when I was swinging at everything," Kearns said. "I just
got some pitches I could hit and didn't try to do too much and
that's the worst thing I've been trying to do is trying to do too
Kearns, who underwent surgery July 2 to remove a bone spur from
the base of his right thumb, also went on the 15-day disabled list
in late April after he broke his left forearm when he was hit by a
pitch from Pittsburgh's Ryan Vogelsong.
This time, Kearns got the better of the right-hander with a
two-run single in the top of the first inning.
Vogelsong (6-13), who had not allowed a run in his last 12
innings coming in, faced only seven batters and failed to record an
out for the first time in 32 career starts.
"Oh man, this is about as bad as it gets," Vogelsong said.
"You can't do any worse than not getting anyone out and that's
about as drastic a change you can have."
Before being pulled for left-hander Frank Brooks, Vogelsong
faced just seven batters and allowed four hits and walked the other
three. He threw 33 pitches, 12 for strikes, and saw his ERA jump
from 6.19 to 6.68.
Cincinnati has won three straight, while Pirates have dropped
four in a row and nine of 11. The Reds also tied their season highs
in hits with 17 and runs.
Staked to a seven-run lead, Reds pitcher Aaron Harang (10-9)
settled in to win his second straight start after losing six of his
last seven. He also became the first Reds pitcher with 10 wins in a
season since Jimmy Haynes had 15 and Ryan Dempster 10 in 2002.
"It's great to have a lead like that," Harang said. "You
don't have to worry about being too perfect. You can go out and be
aggressive and go right at hitters. And if you make a mistake, it's
not going to kill you."
He allowed six runs -- five earned -- and seven hits in 6 1/3
Felipe Lopez hit his seventh homer of the season off Brian
Meadows in the ninth to close out the scoring.
Casey went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI to give
him 99 on the season. ... LaRue needs one more RBI to tie his
career high of 52 set in 2002. ... Pittsburgh's Jack Wilson went
2-for-2 including a third-inning RBI single, and is 10 hits shy of
becoming the first Pirates player since Dave Parker in 1977 to get
200 in a season. ... Dunn scored a run but struck out twice to
raise his total for the season to 183. He needs 7 more to break
Bobby Bonds' single-season record of 189 set in 1970.