Long night leaves Reds tied for division lead

Long night leaves Reds tied for division lead

CINCINNATI -- With the Reds' penchant for late-inning comebacks this season, a two-hour, 24-minute rain delay in the midst of Tuesday's game against the Dodgers might have otherwise served as a cliffhanger of sorts.

What happened to Cincinnati after the rain stopped and the field dried was more like a patented Wile E. Coyote fall off a cliff while chasing Road Runner.

The thud at the bottom was the pitching staff taking a 12-0 pounding from the Dodgers. Before storms stopped the game in the top of the fifth inning, the Reds' deficit was 3-0.

"There's not much to say tonight," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It was a long game and a drubbing to boot. We'll go home and get some rest and come back tomorrow."

Los Angeles collected 19 hits, which was the most this season against Reds pitching, with 12 of those hits coming after the delay. Rafael Furcal tied a career high with five hits, and his night was rivaled by James Loney's four hits and Manny Ramirez's three hits, including a two-run homer.

Once the long night was over, a few minutes before 1 a.m. ET, the Cardinals had already beaten the Mariners and moved into a tie with the Reds atop the National League Central standings. Cincinnati is 3-5 through eight games of the 10-game homestand, including losses in three of the last four. The best-hitting team in the NL has also been shut out twice in a week.

Reds starter Aaron Harang pitched 4 1/3 innings and was charged with five earned runs and seven hits. Harang, who walked two and struck out five, set an ominous tone when the Dodgers took a 3-0 first-inning lead while he faced eight batters and used a whopping 42 pitches.

After Furcal started the game with a double to right field and Russell Martin walked, Ramirez hit a one-out RBI single to right field. Loney followed with an RBI double into the right-field corner, and Matt Kemp added a sacrifice fly for a three-run deficit.

"I didn't feel like I could get into a rhythm," Harang said. "I'd get two strikes on them, and I couldn't find that pitch to put them away. When you throw a lot of pitches in the first inning, it's going to wear on you, especially when it's as warm and muggy as it was."

Harang (5-6) recovered well and had three straight scoreless innings -- including his striking out the side of middle-of-the-order hitters Andre Ethier, Ramirez and Loney in the Dodgers' third.

Trouble resurfaced in the top of the fifth when Furcal's leadoff single and Ethier's single put runners on the corners with one out before the rain delay.

"I felt confident enough that I was going to be able to get out of that with, worst case, one run if not none," Harang said. "But then the rain came. With that many pitches, they told me as soon as they tarped the field they weren't going to send me out."

When play resumed, the bullpen's recent struggles also resumed. Reliever Logan Ondrusek gave up three singles in the fifth, which scored two of Harang's runs and one of his own to make it a six-run game.

It only got worse from there. Micah Owings took over in the sixth and worked a scoreless inning before getting pummeled in the seventh as the Dodgers batted around and scored five more runs. It began with a leadoff walk to Ethier before Ramirez hit a two-run homer. Later in the inning, Furcal collected his fifth hit with a two-run single off the left-field wall.

"We were still in the game up until the rain delay," Baker said. "Then they just blew us out. It just wasn't a good night for us tonight."

There wasn't much help from the lineup, either. Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda (6-4) pitched five scoreless innings and allowed only three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. Kuroda was able to wait out the delay and pitch the bottom of the fifth to qualify for the victory.

In the sixth, Furcal also made back-to-back defensive gems to rob the Reds of hits. His spectacular diving stop of Joey Votto's hard grounder to his right only added salt to Cincinnati's sores.

"That was the star of the game tonight," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of Furcal. "He did everything except sell tickets tonight."

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