CINCINNATI -- It's the 2010 audition season, and Paul Janish is doing all he can with what's left of '09 to land a leading role as the Reds' regular shortstop. If defense alone counted for everything, Janish's slick glove would have nailed him the part already. But he has to show he can hit, too. A 3-for-4 Tuesday night with three doubles, including the RBI two-bagger for the go-ahead run in a 5-4 win over the Astros didn't hurt Janish's chances.
"It's on my mind, but at the same time it's not something you can worry about," Janish said about trying to land a job for next year. "Fortunately I'm in a situation where I'm getting run out there every day. Hopefully I will finish the season strong." It was a 4-4 game in the seventh when Astros reliever Sammy Gervacio (1-1) hit leadoff batter Corky Miller with a pitch. After a sacrifice bunt moved pinch-runner Bronson Arroyo to second base, Janish drove him in with a two-out RBI double to right-center field. A Houston native that attended Rice University, Janish hit his other doubles in the first inning and the sixth inning and scored both times. "I was kidding around with some of their guys. Some of our guys said this game is televised in Houston tonight so you have to do something," Janish said. Janish was in a 2-for-32 slump before he was taken out of the lineup for a game on Saturday at Chicago. Over his past three games, he is 6-for-13 with five doubles. "Such as inexperience and youth, you're going to be hot and cold," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "What you're looking for is consistency. That's what we're all looking for, especially a guy in Janish's position. He's a really good student. He listens to what you tell him and tries to apply it." "Flip-flopped is way better, right? I think we need to stick with that ratio more than the other one," Janish said. "That day I talked to Dusty in a meeting. I was kind of getting in a funk, and it was snowballing on me. It helped me mentally more than anything else." Shortstop became a vacancy after the Reds traded Alex Gonzalez to the Red Sox on Aug. 14. Janish has started 28 of the past 30 games since but is hitting only .223. "He was a recipient of the trade to get an opportunity to play," Baker said. "As a manager, all you can do is give the person an opportunity. The rest is up to them. You can't hit for them, pitch for them or field for them. But you can instruct them, and hopefully they adhere to the instruction you tell them." Before getting on a roll, Reds starter Kip Wells gave up three runs in a first inning that included three singles, a walk and three stolen bases. On the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning from Astros starter Roy Oswalt, Drew Stubbs hit a home run to left field. Janish followed with a double and scored on Scott Rolen's sacrifice fly. Kazuo Matsui led off the Houston third inning with a homer into the right-field bullpen before Wells retired the next 13 batters in a row and 14 of his final 16. After Wells walked his final batter, Jason Michaels, with two outs in the seventh, Daniel Herrera (4-4) struck out Michael Bourn to leave two runners stranded. Oswalt is 23-1 lifetime vs. the Reds, but he couldn't get out of the sixth and wound up with his fourth no-decision vs. Cincinnati this season. Janish and Joey Votto started with doubles that put runners on second and third. Janish scored on Brandon Phillips' groundout before Rolen's ground-rule double to center field scored Votto with the tying run. Janish is the first Reds player with three doubles in a game since Jorge Cantu did it on Sept. 21, 2007, at San Francisco. His good night came with his mother, Debbie, in attendance while visiting from Houston. "She usually brings some hits with her, so it's good when she's here," Janish said. "She usually gets pretty fired up about everything. It's good to have a good game when she's here."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.