By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Sometimes, nice weather and a nice ballpark are enough. How else can you explain why a crowd of 28,870, including a walkup crowd of more than 5,650, would show up to watch the playing-out-the-string Reds face the going-nowhere Montreal Expos Friday at Great American Ball Park?
The Expos beat the Reds 5-1 as the Reds offense went back to anemic after scoring nine runs to beat the Chicago Cubs Thursday night.
The crowd seemed to have fun despite the uninspiring game.
It got the wave going in the ninth.
Even Chief executive officer Carl Lindner, in his Diamond Seat, participated.
The Expos' 82nd victory guaranteed them a second straight winning season under manager Frank Robinson.
Montreal had not posted consecutive years over .500 since 1992-94.
Before Montreal's first game at Great American Ball Park, a bronze statue of Robinson was unveiled outside the stadium.
Robinson began his Hall of Fame career as an outfielder for the Reds.
The Reds were never really in this one, losing for the third time in their last four games.
Starter Aaron Harang gave up three straight two-out hits in the first inning.
The last of the three was a two-run double by Wil Cordero.
Harang gave up a leadoff home run to Brad Wilkerson in the third.
Ron Calloway made it 4-0 with an RBI single.
Wilkerson's home run was his first in 18 games since Sept. 1.
Wilkerson drove in another run in the fourth inning to make it 5-0.
"I guess the best word to use tonight would be erratic," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "(Harang) threw a lot of pitches. (The Expos) laid off his splitter and changeup."
Harang, a 24-year-old right-hander obtained in the Jose Guillen trade with Oakland, went five innings, allowing five runs on five hits.
Harang was 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA in his first three starts as a Red. He is 1-3 with a 7.33 ERA since.
Harang probably will be in the rotation for next year.
"He's got usable stuff," Miley said. "He has pitched some good games. But he's struggled in a few, too."
This was Harang's final start of the year. He ended up 4-3 with a 5.28 ERA in nine starts with the Reds.
"I'm going to go home and start my workout routine," Harang said. "I want to come in healthy and ready to pitch."
The Reds did nothing early against Tomo Ohka.
Ohka, in fact, had retired 10 straight when Jason LaRue led off the sixth with a double.
LaRue went to third on Ryan Freel's infield hit and scored on Ray Olmedo's fielder's choice groundout.
Ohka (10-12) pitched a five-hitter and gave up only an unearned run in his second complete game of the season. He walked none and struck out three.
The Expos lead the NL with 14 complete games.
Ohka has allowed just four earned runs in 31 innings over his last four starts.
E-HMateo 2 (4), WPena (2). LOB-Montreal 7, Cincinnati 4. 2B-WCordero (27), Schneider (25), Branyan (12), LaRue (23). HR-Wilkerson (19), off Harang. RBIs-Wilkerson 2 (77), WCordero 2 (70), Calloway (52). CS-Wilkerson (10). S-Ohka.
Runners left in scoring position-Montreal 4 (Calloway 2, Zeile, Schneider); Cincinnati 2 (DJimenez, Stenson).
DP-Montreal 1 (HMateo and OCabrera).
|Ohka W, 10-12||9||5||1||0||0||3||91||4.16|
|Harang L, 4-3||5||9||5||5||3||2||107||5.28|
Umpires-Home, Ed Rapuano; First, Mark Carlson; Second, Paul Nauert; Third, Gerry Davis.
T-2:22. A-28,870 (42,263).
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