Cincinnati Reds

Rain ruins Reds' parade, home opener

CINCINNATI — First, it rained on the Reds' parade Monday, the 90th Findlay Market Parade.

Then, the New York Wets, er Mets, added to Cincinnati's woes by coming out on top of a 2-1 decision on a drizzly, 37-degree opening day at Great American Ball Park.

"It seemed like everything they hit found a hole, and we hit some balls hard right at people," said Darnell McDonald, who got the start in center field for the Reds because Willy Taveras had the flu.

And then there was Mets left-hander Johan Santana.

"He pretty much shut us down," said McDonald, who scored the Reds' only run.

Santana (1-0) held the Reds to three hits over 52⁄3 innings, striking out seven and walking four. Scott Green, J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez combined for 31⁄3 no-hit innings of relief, a Mets bugaboo last year.

"Those guys did a great job and deserve all the credit," Santana said. "It's definitely great for us and brings our confidence level up."

The Reds took heart because their pitching, at least for this game, lived up to its billing.

Aaron Harang (0-1), making his fourth consecutive opening day start, gave up a run on seven hits over five innings. Daniel Ray Herrera wasn't sharp in his two-thirds of an inning in relief, but the four pitchers who combined for the final 31⁄3 innings gave up only a single and a walk.

Reds Manager Dusty Baker liked the quality pitching he saw from Harang.

"I loved the way he pitched," Baker said. "His zip and velocity were back. He had a sharp breaking ball."

And repeatedly wriggled out of jams as New York stranded 12 runners.

The Mets' first two hits were infield singles.

In the third, a bloop single and an error on McDonald put runners on second and third with two out. After an intentional walk, Harang left the bags loaded when he got Santana to fly out.

Mets rookie left fielder Daniel Murphy opened the scoring, driving a full-count pitch into the stands in right-center.

"Three-and-two fastball over the middle," Murphy said. "They don't want to put me on with David (Wright) and Carlos (Delgado) next."

Said Harang: "I just came right at him and missed my spot."

The next three batters singled. But Wright was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Jay Bruce to keep the score 1-0. Herrera came on to pitch in the sixth, giving up a one-out double and back-to-back walks to load the bases. Luis Castillo, who had the double, scored on Murphy's groundout to first base.

Meanwhile, Santana had a no-hitter until Bruce's two-out double in the fourth. Cincinnati's only run came in the sixth.

McDonald led off with a broken-bat single to left, then moved to third on Joey Votto's single up the middle. Brandon Phillips brought McDonald home with a sacrifice fly to left.

The Reds had only one more base runner after the sixth, via a walk.

"They've got a totally different bullpen," Baker said. "They got two closers. ... They shored up the area that they wanted to shore up."

Notes

■ Bronson Arroyo is back in his originally scheduled slot in the Reds rotation — Thursday against the Mets. Baker had planned to delay Arroyo's start because of the pitcher's carpel tunnel syndrome.

"He threw a bullpen session today. He threw long-toss (Sunday) with (pitching coach) Dick Pole and our catching instructor, Juan Lopez," Baker said. "And he said he felt great. ... We've changed our minds back again."

Baker's plan coming out of spring training was to alternate "combination" pitchers Harang, Arroyo and Micah Owings in the 1-3-5 slots, with hard-throwers Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto taking the 2-4 slots. Now, that is once more the plan.

■ Phillips, the Reds second baseman, received his Gold Glove before the game.

"There's a lot of great athletes ... who've played this game who've never got a Gold Glove, so I really take this to heart," Phillips said. "I mean, it's better than the 30-30 thing I did (30 homers and 32 stolen bases in 2007). Defense comes first."

■ Reds first baseman Votto, asked before the game whether he was ready for a cold-weather start, said, "I never headed outside when it was anything like this."

But you're a Canadian, the Toronto native was reminded by a reporter. Said Votto: "We play hockey in this weather, not baseball."

■ A moment of silence was observed in remembrance of Glenn Sample, the Reds official scorer who died in November. Also, the scorer's booth at the park was dedicated in Sample's name.

■ The Reds are 64-68-1 all-time in home openers. ... The start of the game was delayed 13 minutes because of the wet weather. ... The weather kept some fans away, but the 42,177 tickets produced the 40th sellout at the park.

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