Dan Haren hurled eight frames of one-run ball, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 4-2 win over St Louis Cardinals on Saturday. Haren allowed four hits, striking out eight and walking two, in a pitching duel with the unlucky Wainwright (10-6), who surrendered two runs in seven innings. He lowered his ERA to 1.96, the best in the majors, while Mark Reynolds scored three times and Miguel Montero had four hits including a sixth-inning home run.
D-backs manager AJ Hinch was impressed with Montero's performance, saying: "He's done well. He's settled in nicely in the middle order and is producing. "We've always liked his bat and his energy, and to see him on the field and really take a leadership role has been good to see." Montero himself was modest of his showing, instead paying tribute to Haren. "He's the best pitcher in the Major Leagues right now. He makes my job easy," he said.
D-backs' win allowed the Chicago Cubs to move to within two games of the Cardinals in the National League (NL) Central thanks to Alfonso Soriano. Soriano hit his first home run since July 7, a three-run go-ahead shot in the sixth inning which allowed the Cubs to beat the Washington Nationals 6-5. Elsewhere, Aaron Harang's struggles continued as he and the Cincinnati Reds slipped to a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers, also two games back on the Cardinals.
Things were going smoothly for Harang until Craig Counsell's homer, which started a four-run fourth inning from which the Brewers could not recover. * With agencies