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06/17/09 1:59 AM ET
Rain doesn't bother Nix in victory
Slugger comes through with three RBIs in delayed game
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Rain around the Reds this season has been more persistent than a toddler with 20 questions. Their lineup, on the other hand, has been drier than the Sahara from not scoring many runs. For the 10th time this season on Tuesday, the Reds were delayed by inclement weather, the seventh time at Great American Ball Park. But for the first time in 11 games, Cincinnati's bats pooled together more than four runs and took a 7-2 win over the Braves. It pushed the Reds' record above .500 again at 32-31, as they remained in third place and three games out of first in the National League Central. "I think it's pretty self-explanatory and obvious," said left fielder Laynce Nix, who was 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs. "We needed to swing the bats and get some production, especially out of the middle of the lineup with runners on base. It's good to have started this homestand the way we have. We need to continue it the rest of the week." The Reds had come into Tuesday's game batting .192 over the past 11 games with just 33 runs scored. They just finished a 2-4 road trip that ended by being swept three games by the Royals. The hearty remnants from the crowd of 19,127 fans at Great American Ball Park stuck out some lengthy, and often sideways, torrential showers. They didn't receive a free ark with their paid admission but were at least treated to the end of a four-game losing streak. Before the stoppage, the Reds had a 1-0 lead. In the first inning, leadoff hitter Willy Taveras snapped an 0-for-32 slump with a lined single to center field. Taveras stole second and later scored from third on Nix's groundout to second base. Starter Aaron Harang was looking great when the game was stopped for one hour, 54 minutes by showers. It was unfortunate luck for Harang, who had worked two scoreless innings. In the first inning, he threw 13 pitches -- all for strikes. "That's the best Aaron has thrown this year," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "With velocity, location, everything, he was on his way to an excellent ballgame. I hope he remembers that and keeps that tempo and that rhythm and takes it out there next time." The rain eventually lightened up enough that umpire crew chief Joe West ordered to have the tarp pulled and play to resume. Unlike after a May 25 delay vs. Houston with two outs in the fifth inning and the right-hander needing just one out for a victory, there was no chance for Harang to continue this time. "I sat in there and talked to them quite a bit," Harang said. "They pretty much said it was too late." Daniel Herrera took over for Harang and play lasted all of six minutes when heavier downpours returned and the game was stopped an additional 21 minutes. Once the game resumed again at 10:15 p.m. ET, players had to tread lightly on soggy grass and infield dirt covered in quick-dry. Water was still collected on the outfield warning track, where a rubber duck regatta could have been held. "It was bad. The field was soaked," Nix said. "There were puddles of water on the warning track but you had to block it out. It was the same for both teams. It's a battle -- cooling off and warming up three or four times. It was good to come out with a win tonight." But at least it was "game on" -- for good this time. Herrera (1-0) worked three scoreless innings to earn his first Major League victory. In the bottom of the third inning after the second delay ended, Brandon Phillips hit a two-out double to right field and scored on Nix's double, also to right field. The Reds tacked on a run in the fifth and made it 3-0. In the sixth against Reds reliever Nick Masset, Chipper Jones scored on Garret Anderson's RBI single and made it a 3-1 game. Masset fell into a bases-loaded, one-out jam but escaped with a timely 5-4-3 inning-ending double play from Jeff Francoeur. "We got a huge double play on Francoeur by Masset," Baker said. "They were starting to roll and hit the ball pretty good." In the eighth after Jones led off with a double against David Weathers, back-to-back two-out infield singles allowed him to score and make it a one-run game. While sending nine to the plate, the Reds piled on some insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. The big hits came from Alex Gonzalez with a two-run double off the left-field wall and Nix's RBI double to right field. Like the rest of the Reds' lineup, Nix was struggling lately. He had entered the night 4-for-29 in his previous eight games. "It was a great night for Nix. He needed it and we desperately needed it," Baker said.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.