Harnisch Makes Quick Work of Phillies

<i> From Associated Press</i>

With all the problems he has gone through, Pete Harnisch couldn’t help but be encouraged by his first shutout in two seasons.

Harnisch pitched a two-hitter Wednesday, retiring the last 13 batters in a row, and Eddie Taubensee singled home a first-inning run as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 1-0, at Cincinnati.

It was Harnisch’s eighth career shutout in 230 starts and his first since July 29, 1996, when he beat Pittsburgh with a four-hitter for the New York Mets. Since then, he has missed most of a season because of depression and pitched for three teams.


“This helps,” said Harnisch, who wound up with the Reds’ first complete game of the season. “I’ve been struggling with [confidence] a little bit lately. It’s hard not to feed off a game like this.”

Harnisch (2-0) struck out eight and walked only one, a day after the Reds walked 11 in an 11-8 loss that lasted 3 hours, 46 minutes.

He allowed only two runners to reach second base, adding to the game’s quick pace: 1:58.

Kevin Sefcik doubled in the first inning and Alex Arias had an infield single to shortstop in the fifth for the only hits off Harnisch. The Reds made a couple of nice plays behind him in the seventh to take away potential doubles.

“It was great to go nine,” Harnisch said. “I haven’t done that much lately. It’s fun, especially when you get into the late innings. I was pumped.”

“We hit some balls at people and some balls didn’t fall,” Phillie Manager Terry Francona said. “We gave him a few easy innings, but he pitched very well.”

Mike Grace (1-3) was nearly as effective and wound up losing because of a ball that deflected off his glove. Lenny Harris opened the first with a single, and Willie Greene hit a high bouncer back to the mound that went off the top of Grace’s glove for an infield single.

If Grace catches the ball, he probably turns a double play.

“I just missed the ball,” Grace said. “A play like that can change the game. It’s my fault. The ball came high off the turf, but I should have been ready. I should have had the ball.”

After the first inning, Cincinnati didn’t get another runner to second base.

“I thought there were going to be more runs,” Taubensee said. “A lot of times a day game after a late night game can be a low-scoring game.”

St. Louis 13, Montreal 7--Mark McGwire had two runs batted in to regain the league lead and Delino DeShields had three hits and two RBIs as the Cardinals overcame a five-run deficit at St. Louis.

McGwire walked on five pitches with the bases loaded in the fourth inning and had a rare opposite-field run-scoring double to put the Cardinals ahead, 6-5, in a five-run sixth. He has 34 RBIs, one more than Colorado’s Vinny Castilla.

DeShields raised his average to .395 and tied the score in the sixth with a two-run triple, his league-leading fifth, against Steve Kline (1-1). DeShields is 16 for 30 in his last eight games.

McGwire’s double came against Anthony Telford. Willie McGee and Gary Gaetti added RBI singles in the sixth as the Expos lost for the fifth straight time. The Cardinals are 10-3 at home.

Houston 6, New York 1--Jose Lima got his fourth win and Derek Bell went three for four with two RBIs at Houston to lead the Astros to their sixth victory in a row.

Moises Alou homered and drove in two runs for the Astros, who have won 10 of 12 and are percentage points behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.

John Olerud had two hits for the Mets, who dropped their fourth in a row.

Lima (4-1) gave up eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Bell doubled twice, singled and raised his average to .413. He went seven for 10 in the two-game series and has two or more hits in eight of his last 10 games.

Alou went two for four and hit his seventh homer in the sixth inning.