Reds 5, Giants 3

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CINCINNATI (AP)—No matter how bad things get in the Cincinnati Reds clubhouse, they seem to turn out just fine on the field.

Barry Larkin homered for the first time since April, and Juan Castro hit a tiebreaking shot in the eighth inning Friday night as the Reds kept rolling with a 5-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

The Reds are 4-1 during a gut-wrenching week, with all four wins coming in their final at-bat. They fired their manager and general manager, and traded away four key players for prospects and cash.

On Friday, one day after the deadline for non-waiver trades, the Reds seemed to relax a little.

“Obviously, the last few days have been busy,” interim manager Dave Miley said. “Today was more normal than usual.”

Despite the upheaval, the Reds had their 10th sellout at their new ballpark, driven by their latest bobblehead promotion—this one of their mascot. The crowd of 39,291 reveled as the Reds won the only way they know how.

Castro’s two-out, two-run homer off Felix Rodriguez (6-1) gave the Reds their 26th victory in their final at-bat, the most in the majors. They have 50 wins overall.

Castro, called upon to play more this season because of Larkin’s injuries, has hit eight homers, twice as many as in any previous season. He homered twice last weekend.

“I think it’s because this year, I’ve played more often than in the past,” Castro said. “I don’t try to hit homers. They just happen.”

Chris Reitsma (9-3) gave up an RBI single in the eighth to Benito Santiago that tied it at 3. The Reds blew an early 3-0 lead before sending the NL West leaders to only their fourth loss in 15 games since the All-Star break.

The Giants have the NL’s best defense, but committed two errors—matching their season high—and stranded seven runners. The middle of the lineup had only two hits.

“I think we looked real tired out there tonight,” manager Felipe Alou said. “I hate to say that when their guy’s throwing the ball well. We had a lot of shots. We had some big people come up with men on. Our guys got jammed tonight with sinkers.”

Paul Wilson gave up seven hits in seven innings, holding the Giants scoreless until Pedro Feliz delivered a pinch-hit, two-run homer with two outs in the seventh. It was the first pinch-hit homer of his career.

The Reds committed their major league-leading 106th error in the eighth, setting up Santiago’s tying single.

Larkin, who has been disabled twice by leg injuries, led off the fourth inning with his second homer off Jerome Williams. Larkin’s other homer was on May 6, a game-ending, two-run shot in the ninth against St. Louis. He went 166 at-bats without one.

This one got to Williams.

“Sometimes that happens,” said Williams, who gave up seven hits in six innings and struck out nine. “As a pitcher, you can’t let that bother you. I kind of let it bother me a little bit.”

He helped the Reds load the bases by hitting Jason LaRue with a pitch, and Wily Mo Pena singled just past diving third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo for a run. Santiago dropped Alfonzo’s throw home on a grounder by Ruben Mateo, an error that put the Reds up 3-0.

The Reds had reminders of their tough week everywhere.

A group of fans in center had tickets compliments of third baseman Aaron Boone, traded Thursday to the New York Yankees. A young fan in the group held a picture of Boone in a Yankees uniform.

When third baseman Russell Branyan ran into the wall while trying to catch a foul in the first inning and leaned over in pain, one fan yelled, “Put Boone in!”

Branyan later left the game with a sprained right ankle.

Chief operating officer John Allen went on the team’s local radio affiliate Friday, trying to soothe fans incensed at how the Reds have handled their first season in a publicly financed ballpark.

More derogatory signs dotted the stands. One brightly colored sign behind third base read, “The tickets broke our wallets and the trades broke ourhearts.”

Notes

J.T. Snow was out of the Giants lineup for the sixth straight game because of a strained groin. … LHP Kirk Rueter went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained pitching shoulder. … 2B Ray Durham pulled a hamstring while running out his game-ending grounder. … Reds OF Ken Griffey Jr. will have surgery Monday to repair a tear in his right shoulder, which he dislocated on April 5 while trying to make a diving catch. … Cincinnati RHP RyanDempster will have surgery next week to remove a bone chip from his elbow.

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