Nats' Harris halts 1-for-18 stretch with three-run homer off Owings

PHOENIX (AP) -- Willie Harris picked a good time to snap out of a slump.

Harris hit a tiebreaking three-run homer to lift the Washington Nationals to a 7-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.

Harris had one hit in his previous 18 at-bats before he connected on an 0-1 fastball from Micah Owings (6-3) with one out in the seventh to put the Nationals in front 6-3. The drive to right field was Harris' second homer.

"I'm by far not a home run hitter," Harris said. "I hit two every year, so that's my mark. I'm done."

Asked if he knew how many career homers he has, Harris smiled and replied, "Eight."

When told it was actually nine, Harris raised his arms above his head in mock exultation.

Harris' homer capped a rally that began when Owings (6-3) hit .143-hitting Rob Mackowiak, who had struck out his first two trips. A single by Elijah Dukes set the stage for Harris' clutch drive.

Nationals manager Manny Acta said Harris hadn't gotten down during his slump.

"Actually, he's a very positive, energetic guy," Acta said. "He doesn't put his head down. That's why I'm happy that things worked out for him today."

Joel Hanrahan (1-2) threw 1 2-3 scoreless innings, and Jon Rauch pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 14 chances and his 10th in a row.

Orlando Hudson and Chad Tracy hit solo homers for the Diamondbacks, who have lost five straight. It's their longest skid since they dropped five in a row last July 4-8.

The Diamondbacks had hoped to regain their swagger in a six-game homestand against San Francisco and Washington. But they've dropped the first four games and will ask ace Brandon Webb to stop the slide on Saturday night.

"It just feels like we're putting some pressure on ourselves at the plate, especially if we're behind a little bit," manager Bob Melvin said.

Arizona has lost nine of its last 11 games overall and its NL West has dwindled to 2 1/2 games over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the second on a two-run single by Jesus Flores, who left after seven innings after twice being hit in the head with foul tips. The team said the catcher was experiencing headaches and nausea.

Redding entered 0-5 lifetime with a 6.30 ERA against Arizona. But he dominated the Diamondbacks early, allowing only a walk to Owings in the first three innings.

Arizona finally got to Redding in the fourth, when Hudson hit a 1-0 pitch out to right to cut Washington's lead to 2-1.

The Diamondbacks tied it in the fifth. Jeff Salazar drew a leadoff walk, moved up on singles by Owings and Chris Young and scored on Stephen Drew's sacrifice fly.

Owings gave the run back in the sixth on singles by Cristian Guzman and Dmitri Young and Lastings Milledge's sacrifice fly to center.

Owings gave up six runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out six, hit two and walked none.

"I just kept fighting," Owings said. "I didn't feel like I had my best stuff tonight, and unfortunately you're going to have those nights."

Chris Snyder hit an RBI single in the sixth for Arizona but the game wasn't tied for long. Owings left a fastball over the middle of the plate and Harris lined it over the right-field fence.

"Could be a whole different ballgame," Owings said. "Missed my spot and paid for it. We're in the big leagues. It's going to happen when you don't hit your spot."

Redding went 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs and four hits. He walked five and struck out one.

Game notes
Washington RHP Jason Bergmann starts on Saturday night against the Diamondbacks. Bergmann (1-1, 4.50 ERA) has thrown 19 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings. ... Webb has lost two straight starts after winning his first nine. ... With a single in two at-bats, Owings raised his batting average to .297 (11-for-37).