Harang can't solve Redbirds

Cards spell trouble for Harang

ST. LOUIS -- Aaron Harang returned to the dugout after the first inning Tuesday night and received quizzical stares from his teammates.

"What's with your jersey?" Paul Wilson asked him.

"What?" Harang responded. "Did I spill something on it?"

No, it was something that was missing that was the problem. For sprawled across Harang's chest in bold red print was "CNCINNATI."

If that had been Harang's only problem on this rainy night at Busch Stadium, perhaps he would have been fine. But he struggled on the mound, too, and the Reds dropped a 5-1 decision to the Cardinals as a result.

It's difficult to get comfortable in a misprinted jersey. And although Harang discarded the faulty fabric after two innings, he had just as much difficulty getting comfortable on the mound.

"I just couldn't get a rhythm going," Harang said. "I had my ups and downs. It was just one of those games I had to battle through."

Harang's battle began in the bottom of the second inning, after his teammates handed him a 1-0 lead they garnered off right-hander Jason Marquis.

Harang walked the first two batters he faced that inning, then gave up a single to Mark Grudzielanek to load the bases. That brought up Marquis, who's actually a decent hitter for his position.

Though he quickly whipped up an 0-2 count on Marquis, Harang threw a couple of pitches away. Next thing he knew, it was 3-2.

"I had a 3-2 count on him, and I had to put something around the zone," Harang said. "I just left it up a little bit, and he turned on it."

Marquis turned on it, all right. And he turned it into a bases-clearing triple down the right-field line to make it 3-1.

"You gotta give Marquis credit," Harang said. "He put a good swing on it. I just didn't put it where I wanted it."

Neither did the Reds' offense. After getting an early run off Marquis with Austin Kearns' RBI single, they closed up shop for the night.

None of the Nos. 1-3 hitters -- D'Angelo Jimenez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sean Casey -- managed to get on base at all. And as has been the case throughout this road trip, when the Reds did have runners on base, they missed their chances to bring them home, going 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

"I thought we seemed to have some quality at-bats where we saw some pitches," manager Dave Miley said. "But basically the way the road trip's been with runners in scoring position -- 1-for-6 tonight -- that tells you a lot right there."

So Harang didn't exactly have much help from his supporting cast. And in the sixth, after he had retired 12 of the next 13 batters he faced after Marquis' big hit, Harang didn't make his chances of victory any easier.

With two outs and the bases cleared, Harang tried to put a high fastball past Jim Edmonds, but Edmonds knocked it over the center-field wall. Harang didn't have much better luck against the next batter, Reggie Sanders, who took an 0-1 slider out to left to make it 5-1.

Harang went on to finish that inning, but he was finished for the night.

"I made more mistakes than Marquis did," Harang said. "[The Cardinals] are a veteran club, and they're going to take advantage of mistakes. There's nothing you can do about it. I just couldn't get in a comfort zone out there."

And that misprinted jersey, which clubhouse manager Rick Stowe admitted was his gaffe, didn't improve his night at all.

"How many times do you ever see that?" Harang said with a laugh. "I thought it was a practical joke or something. I've been wearing it the last three days, and I didn't even know it, because I've been wearing my jacket. I guess I don't go looking in the mirror at myself all the time to check."

Harang shook off the bad outing and laughed off the wardrobe malfunction. But in the wake of this defeat, he said one thing was for sure:

"I'm not wearing that jersey anymore."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.