Reds' Owings dominates former team with seven strong innings

PHOENIX -- Micah Owings beat Arizona with his bat last September.

On Tuesday night, he beat his former team with his arm.

With Brandon Phillips homering and driving in two runs, Owings pitched the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Owings said it is entirely coincidental that he's had two big games against the team that drafted him in 2005 and then dealt him to Cincinnati last season.

"I don't want to look into that," Owings said. "My focus is going out and playing the game, playing it hard and playing it the right way, whoever it's against."

It was Owings' second trip to Chase Field since the trade, but the first time he pitched against the Diamondbacks. Last Sept. 13, Owings had a pinch-hit double in the 10th inning to beat the Diamondbacks, who were contending for a division title.

Now the Diamondbacks are in last place in the NL West, nine games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. Arizona fell to 1-4 under manager A.J. Hinch, who replaced Bob Melvin last week.

Owings, meanwhile, is pitching for a team with the best road record (12-5) in baseball.

Owings (3-3) outpitched Arizona's Dan Haren (3-4), who again lacked run support. Arizona has scored two runs or fewer in five of Haren's eight starts.

Owings went seven sharp innings and allowed one run and a season-low four hits. He walked two and struck out four.

"Tell you, he pitched a masterful game," manager Dusty Baker said.

Owings and Haren dueled on a 98-degree night.

The Reds reached Haren for two runs in the fourth on a single by Phillips and a sacrifice fly by Ramon Hernandez.

Two innings later, Phillips hit a 1-1 pitch an estimated 452 feet off the facing of the second deck in left field, and Cincinnati led 3-0.

Haren went seven innings, allowing three runs and six hits. He struck out five.

"Micah threw the ball real well," Haren said. "He was just a little better than I was tonight."

Arizona entered hitting .236, matching Oakland for the major's worst batting average. Keeping the Diamondbacks off-balance with fastballs and changeups, Owings retired the first seven batters before Augie Ojeda singled in the third.

Owings walked two men in the fourth but got Eric Byrnes, batting .216, to bounce to third base to end the inning.

Owings worked out of another jam in the fifth. Haren led off with a single and took second on Owings' throwing error, then moved to third on Felipe Lopez' single.

The right-hander buckled down and got Miguel Montero to pop up to second, struck out Justin Upton and got Mark Reynolds to fly to right.

"There were plenty of chances," Hinch said. "We didn't really make Micah work probably as hard as we should've."

Baker lifted Owings after he hit Ryan Roberts leading off the eighth. Lopez followed with an RBI double off Arthur Rhodes to cut Cincinnati's lead to 3-1.

Arizona brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate with two outs, but David Weathers got Byrnes to fly to center.

The Diamondbacks brought the potential winning run to the plate against closer Francisco Cordero in the ninth. But Cordero retired Lopez on a grounder to first to pick up his 10th save in as many chances.

"Taking the positive out of it, we're not rolling over and quitting," Hinch said. "This group, they're working hard and trying. We've just got find a way to produce better results."

Game notes
Cincinnati 1B Joey Votto left the game in the fourth inning with dizziness. Votto, the NL's leading hitter with a .381 average, was listed as day-to-day. ... RHP Bryan Augenstein will make his major league debut for Arizona on Wednesday night, jumping from Double-A Mobile, where he is 5-0 with a 0.78 ERA. The Diamondbacks will have to make a roster move before the game to add Augenstein.