San Francisco (69-69) at Cincinnati (68-70)

Cloudy Currently: Cincinnati, OH
Temp: 40° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Tue Sep 5, 2006
  • TV: FSBA, FSOH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Much to the delight of the San Francisco Giants, Barry Bonds has found his home run stroke at just the right time.

Bonds looks to homer in his fourth straight game as the Giants continue their three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark on Tuesday.

San Francisco beat Cincinnati 5-4 in 10 innings on Monday to get to .500 for the first time since July 27. It was the Giants’ third straight victory, their 15th in the last 21 games and was possible thanks to a blast by Bonds.

He hit a two-run homer to tie the game in the eighth and Shea Hillenbrand homered in the top of the tenth to give San Francisco (69-69) four straight wins over the Reds (68-70).

“So many times we’ve gotten close to .500, just to be pushed back,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “I hope guys understand we’ve got to be better than .500 to win this division or the wild card. We’ve got to keep going.”

Bonds has been on a tear lately, batting .500 (12-for-24) over an eight-game hit streak. He has five homers in his last six games and he’s homered in three straight games for the first time since Sept. 16-21, 2005, when he did it four games in a row.

“He’s so lethal right now,” Hillenbrand said. “It’s amazing. Someday I’ll be able to cherish it and tell my grandkids about how I was able to play with the best I’ve ever seen play the game.”

The 42-year-old left fielder now has 730 career homers, 25 behind Hank Aaron for the all-time record and three behind Aaron’s NL mark.

“I’m feeling a lot better,” said Bonds, who has 58 career homers in 174 games against Cincinnati. “I feel good.”

The Reds have fallen apart since beating San Francisco 6-3 on Aug. 24 to move into a virtual tie with St. Louis atop the NL Central. They’ve lost three straight and nine of their last 10 to fall six games behind the Cardinals.

Matt Morris (10-11, 4.57 ERA) looks for another dominating performance against Cincinnati when he starts for San Francisco on Tuesday.

Morris threw a complete game against the Reds on Aug. 25, allowing one run and three hits.

He followed that start up with a victory over Atlanta on Thursday, allowing five runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings of an 8-6 win.

The victory over Cincinnati snapped a seven-start winless streak for Morris.

He’s 8-4 with a 3.85 ERA in 20 career games against the Reds, and has won four straight decisions over Cincinnati.

Bronson Arroyo (11-9, 3.48) looks for his first consecutive victories in nearly three months when he starts for Cincinnati on Tuesday. The right-hander hasn’t won two starts in a row since June 3 and 8.

He beat San Diego on Friday, allowing two runs and four hits in seven innings. Even with the victory, Arroyo is just 2-6 with a 4.67 ERA in his last 14 starts.

“I was hitting my spots with all my pitches,” Arroyo said. “These guys are pretty aggressive. They gave me some easy outs and they also hit some hard balls right at people.”

This will be the second time this season that Arroyo has started on three days rest. He went 5 2-3 innings against Atlanta on Aug. 5, allowing five runs and eight hits but not receiving a decision.

Arroyo lost to San Francisco on Aug. 26, allowing four runs and eight hits in six innings, and is 0-3 with a 7.16 ERA in four career starts against the Giants.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Morris Pit vs. B. Arroyo Ari
10-15 Record 14-11
4.98 ERA 3.29
117 K 184
63 BB 64
1.35 WHIP 1.19

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Sep 5