Sunday, July 30, 2000
Reds 4, Expos 3
Taubensee's 2 homers save game, win it
By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MONTREAL Eddie Taubensee seems to have returned. The Reds soon will learn whether Pete Harnisch will do the same.
Eddie Taubensee rounds the bases.
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Taubensee's two homers powered the Reds to a 4-3, 11-inning victory Saturday night over the Montreal Expos. The win enabled the Reds (52-51) to trim St. Louis' lead in the National League Central Division to five games.
Taubensee's first blast, with two outs in the ninth inning, forged a 3-3 tie and denied Expos starter Javier Vazquez a complete-game victory. Taubensee's next clout, with one out in the 11th off Julio Santana (0-2), furnished a lead that Danny Graves (10-2) preserved with his third scoreless inning.
The eternally cheerful catcher ended a home run drought of 55 games, one night after his 4-for-5 effort ended an 8-for-70 slump.
I can't change the way I've played in the last month or so, but I can pick it up in the next couple of months to help us, Taubensee said.
Whether Harnisch will spend those months with Cincinnati remains an issue as Monday's 4 p.m. trading deadline approaches. He was mostly efficient against Montreal, allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings. Harnisch was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, having thrown 47 strikes in 73 pitches.
Pete Harnisch must have impressed the Blue Jays scout.
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That may have been enough to impress Toronto Blue Jays scout Pat Kelly, the most conspicuous observer to join the 13,577 paying customers at Olympic Stadium. Toronto began Saturday ranked 12th among the American League's 14 teams in ERA (5.46), despite trailing the New York Yankees by just three games in the East Division.
The Blue Jays are believed to have the financial resources to accommodate Harnisch's contract. His base salary of $3.25 million increases to $4.25 million if he's traded. Since the season is nearly two-thirds complete, that shouldn't be a factor. Harnisch is also owed a $750,000 buyout if his employer, whoever that might be, doesn't pick up the option on his 2001 contract.
By all rational thinking, I shouldn't be thinking about (the possibility of being traded), but I am, Harnisch said.
Danny Graves pitched three scoreless innings for his 10th win.
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Referring to St. Louis' series finale at New York today, Harnisch added: They (the Cardinals) have a tough game. If they lose and we win, we're four games out. Who wants to go? We were 10 games out 2 1/2 weeks ago. So who knows?
You would think we'd want to add to what we have. We're in a position to make a couple of moves to help us. Taking away (from the roster) right now is probably not the way to go.
Taubensee automatically would strengthen the club if he sustains his stroke. With a .257 average, six homers and 22 RBI, he's still far off last year's pace, when he recorded career highs in those categories (.311, 21, 87).
He might be the guy to give us a spark the rest of the season, Reds manager Jack McKeon said.
You can really see he has relaxed a lot and has let his abilities get going, said Reds first baseman Sean Casey, whose sixth-inning double extended his hitting streak to 20 games.
Taubensee needed that calm attitude as he batted with one out separating Vazquez and Montreal from a 3-2 victory.
I was just trying to keep the game alive, said Taubensee, who hit a 3-1 fastball. I was lucky enough to get ahead in the count and I was ready in case he threw one I liked.
The Reds appeared doomed in the bottom of the ninth, but a pair of sharp defensive plays helped Graves survive the three singles he allowed.
First, Chris Stynes pounced on Chris Widger's bunt and threw to third base for a forceout after Lee Stevens and Geoff Blum singled to open the inning. Then left fielder Dmitri Young threw out Blum at home plate on pinch hitter Andy Tracy's single.
Said McKeon: We're due for a couple of breaks.
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