Aaron Harang threw 99 pitches over 8 innings Thursday…74 of them for strikes.
While Harang only fanned 3, he also only allowed 5 hits and 0 base on balls…and only two of the five hits were for extra bases.
Still the Brewers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd after Bill Hall led off with a double to right, and advanced to third on a Corey Hart sacrifice bunt. J.J. Hardy drove in Hall on a single up the middle to give Brewers’ starter Carlos Villanueva a small cushion.
Villanueva was able to keep the Reds off the board until the top of the 5th when Reds’ third baseman Edwin Encarnacion walked, advanced to second on a Scott Hatteberg single, and scored when former Brewer catcher Paul Bako doubled in Encarnacion. With Harang batting, Reds’ skipper Dusty Baker rolled the dice and had Hatteberg try stealing home, but Hatteberg was thrown out, and Harang subsequently fanned to keep Villanueva out of trouble.
Villanueva pitched a scoreless 6th, but gave up the final three runs of the game in the 7th–a pair on an Encarnacion two-run homer, as well as the third run after Hatteberg doubled right after the home run, and scored on a Bako single. Of the 8 hits surrendered by the Brewers’ pitchers, Encarnacion, Hatteberg, and Bako–the 6-7-8 hitters–collected 6 of them, as each went 2-for-3 on the day. Still, Villanueva went 6 IP, allowed 4 ER, 3 BB’s, 7 hits, and fanned 4, upping his ERA after two games to 4.76; 58 of his 95 pitches were for strikes.
Former Brewer Francisco Cordero entered to boos in the 9th, but earned his second save on the season to preserve the win and the series for the Reds.
Only Jason Kendall got more than one hit–Kendall went 2-for-3 to improve his league leading BA to .538. After this game, Rickie Weeks dipped below the Mendoza line (.189), while J.J. Hardy managed to reach it after his 1-for-3 day.