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Reds send San Diego away with one more game than they came with
By GREG STEPHENS, MOP Squad Sports Staff Writer
Sep 14, 2006 - 2:28:00 PM

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Cincinnati, OH--Thursday afternoon, in a half-price ticket, dollar hot dog, business man's afternoon game, the Cincinnati Reds hoped to end their series with the San Diego Padres having gained one game on the wild card leaders.  Entering Thursday's game, the Reds were three and a half games behind the Padres, and five games behind National League Central Division leaders, the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Reds started Aaron Harang, who, coming into the game, was 13-10 with one hundred eighty-nine strikeouts.  The Padres countered with Clay Hensley, 8-11 before Thursday's contest.  Many considered this game to be a must-win one for the Reds, or else they could begin preparing for next year and enjoy watching the play-offs from the comfort of their couches.

Harang started the game strong, giving up only four hits in the first six innings.  Hensley countered with a masterpiece of his own, allowing only three hits in those same six innings.  Both pitchers would face difficulties and ultimately be lifted in their respective half of the seven inning.

Harang began the top of the seventh by loading the bases with no outs.  Mike Cameron then singled in two runs.  Geoff Blum followed the single with a sacrifice to Harang, moving Adrian Gonzalez and Cameron to third and second base respectively.  With third base open, and the pitcher Clay Hensley following, Josh Barfield drew the intentional walk, loading the bases and setting up a potential inning ending double-play.  Instead of drawing Hensley into a double-play, Harang walked his opposite number, bringing the third run of the game across the plate.  Harang left the game in favor of Bill Bray.  Bray gave up another run, charged to Harang, before retiring the side.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Reds, who left runners on first and third at the end of the sixth inning, got back two of the runs surrendered to the Padres.  Hensley was relieved by Jon Adkins after six and one-third innings, giving up five hits and two runs.  Adkins and Alan Embree held the Reds without surrendering any more runs.

Reds relievers Todd Coffey and Rheal Cormier held the Padres through the eighth and ninth innings to a combined no runs, one hit and one walk.  Scott Linebrink and Trevor Hoffman closed the door on the Reds, with Hoffman striking out two of the three Reds he faced in the bottom of the ninth, picking up save number thirty-eight and securing win number nine for Hensley.

Thursday's loss leaves the Reds but sixteen games in which to pick up five and a half on St. Louis, or four and a half on San Diego.  With Thursday's loss, the Reds have dropped seven of their last twelve and open up a three-game road trip with the last place, 58-88 Cubs.  San Diego have won eight of their last twelve and head to Los Angeles for a four-game stand with the first-place Dodgers.


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