Reds 5, Giants 4

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CINCINNATI (AP)—Win by win, the remnants of the Cincinnati Reds are making a point.

Newcomer Josh Hall settled down after giving up Barry Bonds’ 34th homer, and the Reds stayed on their roll by rallying for a 5-4 victory Saturday over the San Francisco Giants.

Barry Larkin drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh that broke a 4-all tie and sent the NL West-leading Giants to their third straight defeat.

The Reds are 5-1 since Monday, when they fired manager Bob Boone and general manager Jim Bowden and embarked upon a budget-slashing makeover. Four key players were traded for prospects and cash.

The turmoil hasn’t spilled over to the field, where the Reds have pulled off five late-inning rallies. Larkin senses that the players are trying to make a point.

“Normally it’s the players directed toward the media, or the players directed toward the world,” Larkin said. “In this case, I think it’s the players in here directed toward the decision to trade some of the better players we had this year.

“I don’t want to say it’s players versus the front office, but guys down here were upset about what happened. Now there are opportunities, and guys are taking advantage.”

The last two wins came off Felix Rodriguez (6-2), who gave up Juan Castro’s tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning of Cincinnati’s 5-3 win on Friday night.

On Saturday, D’Angelo Jimenez singled off Rodriguez to start the Reds’ rally in the seventh, and Scott Eyre later walked Adam Dunn on four pitches to load the bases. The left-hander then walked Larkin, a pinch-hitter, on four pitches as well.

Ryan Wagner (1-0) got his first major league win despite giving up solo homers by Benito Santiago and Andres Galarraga that tied it at 4. Felix Heredia pitched the ninth for his first save in three chances.

The Giants are 11-5 since the All-Star break, but have dropped three straight games for the first time since mid-June. Manager Felipe Alou doesn’t like what he’s seeing from a team with a double-digit lead.

“I never have a comfortable lead,” Alou said. “I want to see us get back to the way we were playing the first four months. We’re playing tired, and we’ve got to get our pitching staff back together.”

Hall, a 22-year-old right-hander called up from Double-A to make his debut, wore his pants hiked-up when he faced Bonds to open the second. He started him off with a fastball inside that got the dugout’s attention.

“The kid showed a lot of character out there,” interim manager Dave Miley said. “The first pitch to Bonds was up and in. That showed me something right there.”

Hall’s next pitch to Bonds was down and in. The third was right down the middle.

With one short, compact swing, Bonds had his 381st victim in the majors. Hall just turned and watched as the ball headed for the Giants’ bullpen in right field.

Hall, who spent a nearly sleepless night before his debut, enjoyed his first encounter with baseball’s single-season home run king.

“That was cool,” Hall said. “It’s like the little kid in me. You give it up and it’s like, ‘Wow, Barry Bonds just hit that off me.”’

Bonds’ 647th career homer left him 13 behind Willie Mays for third place on the career list.

It was Bonds’ first homer at Great American Ball Park, completing his collection. He has homered in each of the 31 ballparks he has played in. Bonds had great success at the Reds’ old place—his 31 homers at Cinergy Field were the most by any opponent.

The homer rattled Hall, who had never pitched above Double-A. Edgardo Alfonzo and Santiago followed with singles, and Jeffrey Hammonds had an RBI double. Hall then settled down, holding the Giants without another hit before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the fifth.

Wagner, the Reds’ top pick in the June amateur draft, hadn’t given up a run in his first five appearances. Santiago hit his 11th homer in the sixth, and Galarraga tied it with his second pinch homer of the season in the seventh.

The Reds got up 4-2 against Jesse Foppert, who has given up a team-high 14 homers. Jimenez led off the fourth with his first homer, and Sean Casey had atwo-run single off Foppert as the Reds pulled ahead 4-2 in the fifth.

Notes

Bonds is a .327 career hitter against the Reds with 55 homers. … Galarraga has five career pinch-hit homers. … Eyre walked four of the nine batters he faced. … Jimenez has hit safely in 20 of his 22 games with the Reds, who got him from the White Sox in a July 6 trade. … Casey lunged intothe stands to catch a foul pop behind first base.

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