Giants 9, Reds 6

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—It was no surprise to see Felipe Alou’s latest managerial moves work splendidly. That’s been happening ever since he took over the San Francisco Giants.

Jose Cruz Jr. and Andres Galarraga drove in three runs apiece, and rookie Jesse Foppert got his first major league victory as the Giants beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-6 Saturday with a shuffled lineup.

Galarraga and Yorvit Torrealba hit two-run homers as the Giants jumped to an eight-run lead in the fourth inning, tagging Cincinnati starter Paul Wilson (1-3) for nine hits and nine runs.

In a second straight rain-delayed game at Pacific Bell Park, the Giants’ offense finally awoke following a dismal week. San Francisco (20-9), off to its best start in 30 years in Alou’s first season, won for just the second time in seven games.

After San Francisco scored just 11 runs in its previous six games, Alou made changes designed to spark his veteran hitters. J.T. Snow, Marquis Grissom, Benito Santiago and Neifi Perez sat down on Saturday, while Galarraga, Ruben Rivera, Torrealba and Rich Aurilia took over.

“Yeah, we were looking for energy,” Alou said. “It’s good to have pressure sometimes. It could hurt you, but it can also alert you. You need a certain amount of pressure to keep you on your toes.”

The Giants scored four runs in the first inning on Cruz’s two-run triple and Galarraga’s homer. They got three more in the third on Edgardo Alfonzo’s RBI double and Torrealba’s first homer of the season.

“It’s really tough,” Torrealba said. “Guys who play every day can go 0-for-4 and not worry about it. We just have to be ready for our chances, and Felipe will give them to us.”

Foppert (1-2), the Giants’ highly regarded 22-year-old right-hander, allowed just two hits over the first five innings before Jose Guillen’s three-run homer in the sixth. He struck out six and walked six, throwing 107 pitches in just his third big league start.

“Obviously, it wasn’t the way I wanted to throw,” said Foppert, who allowed just one run in his previous start, but lost when Philadelphia’s Kevin Millwood threw a no-hitter.

“I was wild the whole day, and they finally took advantage of me. Something is wrong, but I don’t know what it is. There are some things I’ve got to work out.”

Kelly Stinnett had a sacrifice fly for the Reds, whose three-game winning streak ended. Over the first eight innings, Cincinnati’s top four hitters— Felipe Lopez, Adam Dunn, Sean Casey and Austin Kearns—went 0-for-12 with seven strikeouts.

Barry Bonds and Cruz had back-to-back doubles in the fourth to chase Wilson, who had been the steadiest starter in Cincinnati’s shaky rotation.

“It just really was terrible,” Wilson said. “I stunk it up pretty good today. I left a bad pitch up to Galarraga, and he crushed it. That’s not me. I’m a groundball pitcher.”

After Scott Eyre gave up four hits and two runs in the ninth, Tim Worrell got the final out for his career-best eighth save in nine chances. He retired Kearns on a flyball with two on to end it.

Guillen is hitting .400 during his eight-game hitting streak, and his homer traveled more than 420 feet. He said he drew motivation from manager Bob Boone, who told him the Giants had asked to check the Reds’ bats after his homer.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Guillen said. “It was probably coming from (San Francisco first base coach Luis) Pujols. He thinks he knows everything. I’m 225 (pounds). I can’t hit the ball out of the ballpark?”

Alou said the Giants didn’t ask to check Guillen’s bat.

“I mentioned their bats, but it had nothing to do with Jose Guillen,” said Alou, who has coached Guillen in the Dominican Republic. “I don’t go around checking bats. I’ve never done that before.”

Steady rain was falling at gametime Saturday, and crews rolled out the tarpaulin while a middle school choir sang the national anthem. The rain soon abated, and the game began 70 minutes late.

After Foppert left, right-hander Joe Nathan pitched 2 2-3 innings of scoreless relief. Nathan, who missed nearly all of the past two seasons while recovering from shoulder surgery, hasn’t allowed a run in 20 1-3 innings—SanFrancisco’s longest scoreless streak in two seasons.

Notes

Galarraga is 7-for-9 with runners in scoring position this season. … Aurilia returned to the Giants’ lineup after missing three games with abnormally dry eyes. He went 0-for-5. … 3B Aaron Boone fumbled Galarraga’s sharp grounder in the third, adding to Cincinnati’s major league-worst 36 errors. But Boone made up for it with a spectacular play in the fourth,fielding Aurilia’s grounder behind the bag and making a long throw.

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