Encarnacion and the Reds, trying for yet another big game at the plate against the Giants, look to sweep a series for the first time in nearly two months when the teams conclude a three-game set Sunday.
Encarnacion is a career .267 hitter, but is batting .321 in 24 games against San Francisco (59-76). Cincinnati (60-76), though, lost 12 of those first 16 contests before putting together a four-game winning streak.
The Reds extended their run versus the Giants with a 7-6 win on Saturday night, getting a home run and two RBIs from Encarnacion. The third baseman also homered in this series’ opener, hitting a grand slam and adding another RBI as Cincinnati won 11-7.
With Encarnacion hot, the Reds have a chance to win five straight against the Giants for the first time since winning the teams’ final three meetings of 1996, and their first two in 1997. Cincinnati is batting .340 with six home runs while averaging 9.5 runs during its streak against San Francisco.
A win would also give Cincinnati its first series sweep since taking four games against Washington from July 3-6.
Encarnacion, who has a career-best 24 home runs this season, leads a Reds lineup that will be facing Giants starter Matt Cain (8-10, 3.55 ERA), who is 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA in three career starts versus Cincinnati.
The right-hander is 3-2 with a 2.15 ERA in his last seven starts. He lost his last outing, allowing three runs and six hits in six innings as San Francisco was defeated 4-2 by Colorado on Monday night.
Cincinnati will counter with Bronson Arroyo (12-10, 5.07), who has given up two runs or less in four of his last five starts. The right-hander pitched Cincinnati’s first complete game of the season on Tuesday night, allowing five hits in the Reds’ 2-1 win over Houston.
Arroyo is 2-3 with a 3.69 ERA in six starts and one relief appearance versus the Giants.
Francisco Cordero, who has pitched the final inning for Cincinnati in six of Arroyo’s last seven wins, earned his 26th save in 32 opportunities Saturday. The right-hander has a 2.00 ERA and four saves in his last nine appearances.
Reds reliever Nick Masset, meanwhile, hasn’t been available the last two games after slightly injuring his right hand in a car accident while driving home from the airport Thursday night after the Reds returned from their road trip.
San Francisco, which has lost four of five, has struggled in this series despite batting .319 with five home runs.
Randy Winn homered twice and Eugenio Velez hit his first career homer for San Francisco on Saturday. Winn has three of the Giants’ four leadoff homers this season, and 16 leadoff homers in his career.
Giants right fielder Fred Lewis returned to the starting lineup after being scratched on Friday with a tight right thigh, but went 0-for-4. He entered the game hitting .458 (11-for-24) against the Reds.