SAN FRANCISCO — Aaron Harang had been hearing it from family members and friends, a constant reminder as the losses piled up over the past two months.
They should leave him be now.
Harang ended the worst winless stretch of his career with his first victory since late May, Brandon Phillips and Adam Rosales each homered and the Cincinnati Reds beat the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Sunday.
"You think about it, but it was more my family and friends thinking about it," Harang said with a smile. "I was throwing some good games and hadn't been getting much run support."
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The lowly Reds — led by former San Francisco skipper Dusty Baker — had to feel pretty good about themselves after taking this series, in which they won both games started by Giants All-Stars Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. Cincinnati won its first series since June 30-July 2 against Arizona.
Entering the weekend, the Reds had won only four games since the All-Star break and were mired in an eight-game road losing streak.
"Boy, it's been a long time for Aaron. It feels great for him," Baker said. "Sometimes when you don't have a victory for a long time, you wonder, 'Am I every going to win again?'"
Phillips hit a two-out solo homer in the first off Cain to put the Reds up early, then they built on that cushion with Rosales' two-run homer in a three-run fourth. Rosales also singled twice for a career-best three hits.
And Harang (6-13) did his part despite loading the bases with none out in the eighth on three straight singles. Nick Masset relieved and got Pablo Sandoval to ground into a double play on the first pitch and then Bengie Molina to fly out. Sandoval also hit into a double play in the sixth.
Francisco Cordero finished for his 24th save in 25 chances.
Harang hadn't won since May 25 against Houston, a span of 13 starts in which he was 0-9 and had lost his last five starts. The burly right-hander was 1-5 over his previous six starts in San Francisco.
Baker has noticed Harang is locating his pitches better and has increased his velocity — some tiny tweaks the pitcher hopes will get him on a roll.
"I feel like I've got in a groove and worked on some stuff with my mechanics," Harang said.
Rolen to miss several days
Reds third baseman Scott Rolen was evaluated in Cincinnati on Sunday for concussion-like symptoms and will remain inactive for several more days until his symptoms have improved.
Rolen was hit in the head by a pitch from former teammate Jason Marquis in the seventh inning of last Sunday's game against the Rockies.
"The conclusion is as long as he's still having symptoms, including intermittent headaches and an inability to focus, there will be no physical activity," Reds head athletic trainer Mark Mann said.
Alonso sidelined again
Yonder Alonso, the Reds No. 1 draft pick in 2008, was shut down during a rehab assignment last week, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Alonso broke a bone in his hand while playing for Double-A Carolina in mid-June.
"He didn't look right," farm director Terry Reynolds told the Enquirer. "So we put him back on the disabled list."
The team is hopeful Alonso will play again this season.