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Harnisch Sparkles vs. Phils


Pete Harnisch got another ache and another win.

Harnisch took a sharply hit grounder off his right knee in the first inning Saturday, but ignored the pain and led the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Harnisch (12-6) drove in two runs with a bases-loaded double and allowed only four hits in seven innings as he won his seventh consecutive decision. The right-hander is unbeaten since June 12 even though a sore pitching shoulder has limited him for the past two months.

"It's definitely improving," Harnisch said. "It's a lot better and I don't know why. For six or seven starts there it was really bad, but for the last three or four it's definitely better. You just work with what you've got."

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  • He got another pain Saturday Rob Ducey hit a grounder off his right knee in the first inning but ignored it and gave one of his best performances in the past three months.

    "I thought it was going to be a problem when it happened," said Harnisch, who took a few practice throws before continuing. "It hit me pretty solid. My first warmup pitch was not great, but after that it was OK and I didn't think about it for the next few innings."

    Manager Jack McKeon decided to replace Harnisch after the seventh, when he'd thrown 100 pitches. Dennys Reyes pitched a perfect eighth and Danny Graves got the final three outs for his team-high 17th save in 23 chances.

    But the day belonged to the Reds' banged-up starter.

    "Seven consecutive wins when you're not totally healthy is awesome," Graves said. "He's a great guy to follow."

    Harnisch's double with the bases loaded sparked a four-run second inning ofChad Ogea (6-11), who managed to keep the ball in the park but couldn't keep the Reds off the bases. Ogea gave up 12 hits and a walk in 5 2-3 innings.

    Five of the singles off Ogea came on grounders.

    "When you're going good, they hit the ball right at somebody and they're outs," Ogea said. "They (the Reds) are playing well right now and those balls get through."

    The NL Central leaders achieved a breakthrough with their 15th victory in their last 20 games. The Reds improved to 30-29 at home, the first time they've had a winning record at Cinergy Field all season.

    The Reds have become a playoff contender by going 38-17 on the road, the best mark in the majors.

    Philadelphia's hopes of winning a wild-card berth have greatly dimmed in the past week. The Phillies have lost six of their last seven games and have placed starter Curt Schilling on the disabled list with an inflamed shoulder.

    Compounding the problem is the Phillies' lack of clutch hitting. They've stranded 12 runners in scoring position in the first two games of the series.

    "Every team goes through it," manager Terry Francona said. "You can't go the whole year without this happening. The teams that survive it doesn't last very long for them. So it would be advantageous for us to stop it tomorrow."

    Ogea, who won two games for Cleveland during the 1997 World Series, set himself up for his worst season in the majors by giving up an NL-leading 29 homers in his first 24 starts.

    The Reds didn't come close to a homer Saturday, but didn't need to. They put together nine singles, three doubles and a walk for four runs, then let Harnisch do the rest.

    Cincinnati opened the second with three consecutive singles and Harnisch lined the first pitch to the edge of the warning track in left-center for a ground-rule double. Mike Cameron's sacrifice fly and Dmitri Young's single made it 4-0.

    It was the third double of the season by Harnisch, a .114 hitter with five RBIs.

    The game began ominously for Harnisch, who has a frayed rotator cuff that likely will need surgery after the season. Doug Glanville singled up the middle and Ducey's sharply-hit grounder bounced off Harnisch's right knee.

    The pitcher recovered, threw Ducey out and then limped around behind the mound, waving off a trainer who came out to check on him. Harnisch gave up another single before pitching out of the threat.

    He lost his shutout in the sixth when Bobby Areu walked and Kevin Jordan's fly to right eluded a diving Young and rolled to the wall for a triple.

    Notes

  • In the first two games of the series, the Phillies have stranded 12 runners in scoring position.
  • Graves' team-high 17th save moved him one ahead of teammate Scott Williamson.
  • Glanville had two hits and extended his hitting streak to 11 games (17-for-50).
  • The Reds' new ownership group expects to have an agreement ready for baseball owners to consider at their meeting Sept. 15-16 in Cooperstown, N.Y. Three limited partners are buying out Marge Schott's controlling interest in the team. If the deal is approved at the meeting, the club could be under a new ownership arrangement Oct. 1.
  • Cameron had a pair of hits, extending his hitting streak to 11 games (19-for-45), matching his career high.
  • Since his loss to Cleveland on June 12, Harnisch is 7-0 in 11 starts with a 3.27 ERA.

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