Cincinnati manager Dave Miley wasn't sure what to expect from Aaron Harang yesterday. He found out in a hurry.
Skipped in his last start because of the flu, Harang tied his career high with 10 strikeouts and benefited from a three-RBI performance by Joe Randa as the Reds snapped a four-game road losing streak with a 9-0 victory over Roger Clemens and the Houston Astros.
''We didn't know what to expect out of Aaron, and to get seven innings out of him was great," Miley said. ''He got fatigued after the seventh but that was solid pitching right there. He made pitches he needed to."
Clemens (3-3) made his first start since last Tuesday, when he left after five scoreless innings with a strained right groin. He allowed two runs in eight innings, giving up four hits and a walk while striking out seven.
After a single to center by Sean Casey in the third, Clemens retired the next 11 batters in a row and 16 of his last 17.
''I was blessed that my leg stayed under me today," Clemens said. ''I started out slowly and tried to build up to it. I just thanked my lucky stars they stayed under me."
The Reds scored seven runs off three relievers in the ninth, highlighted by Ryan Freel's three-run homer and Jason LaRue's two-run single, both off Russ Springer.
Harang (4-2) allowed five hits and walked one in seven innings.
The Astros loaded the bases with one out in the second on a walk by Morgan Ensberg, an infield hit by Adam Everett, and a single to shallow left by Brad Ausmus. But Harang struck out Clemens and Willy Taveras hit into a force to end the threat.
After that, Harang gave up two singles and didn't allow a runner past first base.
Clemens walked Adam Dunn with one out in the second and Randa followed with a shot into the left-field seats.
Nationals 3, Braves 2 -- A reversed umpire's call that turned Brian Jordan's apparent tying homer in the seventh into a foul ball helped Washington post the home victory.
With the scored tied at 1 and one out in the seventh, Jordan drove a 1-1 pitch from Tomo Ohka (4-3) into the left-field corner. Marlon Byrd, who had two RBIs for the Nationals, drifted back for the ball and was in foul territory when he jumped for it. TV replays appeared to show the ball hit the black base of the foul pole, just beyond Byrd's glove and the wall.
Third base umpire Jerry Layne ruled it a homer, prompting a lot of jumping and arm-waving by Nationals relievers in the bullpen near where the ball traveled. Washington manager Frank Robinson jogged to the outfield to argue the call, and crew chief Ed Montague eventually changed it.
Jordan grounded out to Ohka on the next pitch, and the righthander retired pinch hitter Pete Orr on a fly out to end the inning. Gary Majewski followed with a perfect eighth, and Chad Cordero earned his 12th save despite giving up Andruw Jones's 12th homer, a solo shot with two outs.
Cardinals 5, Rockies 4 -- Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer in the seventh to lift St. Louis in Denver.
Pujols put a 1-2 pitch from Jay Witasick (0-2) barely over the left-field wall for a 4-3 lead. The homer halted Witasick's 10-game streak without allowing an earned run and marked Colorado's major league-high 11th blown save of the season.
Abraham Nunez added an RBI double in the eighth for St. Louis, and after the Rockies cut the lead back to one, Jason Isringhausen pitched the ninth for his 15th save, getting Preston Wilson to ground into a double play with two men on to end it.
Padres 2, Brewers 1 -- Pinch hitter Miguel Ojeda doubled in the winning run with two outs in the ninth and San Diego, which has won five in a row overall, tied a franchise record with its 10th straight home victory.
Cubs 5, Dodgers 3 -- Jerry Hairston, Michael Barrett, and Aramis Ramirez all homered, and Greg Maddux (3-3) got his 308th victory as visiting Chicago moved above the .500 mark for the first time in a month.
Pirates 3, Marlins 2 -- Freddy Sanchez's opposite-field single in the 10th drove in the winning run as Pittsburgh won a one-run game at home for the first time this season.