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Harnisch Near-Perfect In Reds Win


Pete Harnisch wasn't preoccupied with hopes of perfection.

Harnisch took a perfect game into the sixth inning and wound up with a three-hitter as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Montreal Expos 8-1 Monday for a three-game sweep.

"I knew what was going on," Harnisch said. "I knew I had retired everybody -- I hadn't been in the stretch yet -- but it wasn't like, 'I've got to get X amount of outs to the perfect game' because I just figure I'm not going to pitch one."

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  • Harnisch (10-6) allowed a one-out homer to Orlando Cabrera in the sixth, an infield single to Vladimir Guerrero in the seventh and a two-out single to Ryan McGuire in the eighth.

    "If everything goes perfect and it happens, it happens, but that's not something I think about, really," Harnisch said. "You're aware of it but you're not thinking about it."

    He struck out nine and walked one in his second complete game of the season, the 19th of his career, and reached 10 victories for the first time since 1993, when he was 16-9 with Houston.

    Reggie Sanders hit a two-run homer in the seventh as Cincinnati won its seventh consecutive game over Montreal while outscoring the Expos 22-1 in the three-game series. The Reds finished the season series with an 8-1 record.

    Montreal, which has lost five consecutive games and 12 of 14, made four errors, increasing its total to a major league-high 129.

    "I have to admit my disappointment to a couple of people who weren't ready to play today," Expos manager Felipe Alou said. "There were some balls hit and some people didn't respond. Some people are getting too many opportunities the way it is right now."

    Dustin Hermanson (11-10), who had won his previous four decisions, allowe five runs and six hits in seven innings.

    "You just have to stay with your game plan and pitch your game," Hermanson said. "That's what I did. Unfortunately, they played well again. Harnisch pitched a great game."

    Cincinnati took a 2-0 lead in the second on Jeffrey Hammonds' sacrifice fly and an error by catcher Chris Widger, who was late to react on Hermanson's throw home following an overthrow.

    Harnisch's two-out RBI single and Sanders' homer made it 5-1 in the seventh.

    "I don't get a whole lot of big hits, but I thought it was a pretty big hit," Harnisch said. "Two outs, right there, and drive in that run. Then Reggie hits the home run and kind of breaks the game open a little bit, as opposed to me popping up or something."

    Cincinnati added two more in the eighth off Anthony Telford on Ed Taubensee's RBI single and Aaron Boone's bases-loaded foulout to first baseman Ryan McGuire. Sean Casey hit an RBI groundout in the ninth.

    Notes

  • Reds shortstop Barry Larkin made a great play with one out in the third, going deep into the hole to throw out Cabrera.
  • Casey was nearly struck by Boone's foul with none out in the seventh. The ball caromed off a speaker and landed just beside Casey -- who had singled -- as he returned to first.
  • Montreal drew just 7,537. The Expos, who have averaged 11,268 over 72 home dates, have had 35 crowds under 10,000 this season.
  • Montreal plays 21 of its final 30 games on the road.

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