SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Jerry Narron had no idea when the Reds last won two road games in a row.
“I’m trying to think when it was, going back to last season, I guess,” Cincinnati’s manager said, almost in disbelief.
Last Sept. 29-30, to be exact—a pair of one-run wins, both in 12 innings, over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The Reds finally did it again.
Wily Mo Pena hit a tiebreaking single in the sixth and drove in two runs, and Ken Griffey Jr. hit a ninth-inning double for career RBI No. 1,499, leading Cincinnati to a 7-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.
Griffey moved within 10 RBIs of tying Mickey Mantle for 42nd on the career list and took part in another impressive game for the Reds, who won the opener of the four-game series 11-10 on Monday.
“It’s good,” Casey said of establishing a road winning streak for the first time this season. “It’s been a while. For us to get back-to-back wins is a step in the right direction. We’re getting hits when we need them. That’s crucial for us.”
Pena extended his career-best hitting streak to 11 games with a second-inning RBI single. Dunn followed with his 22nd homer of the season into the right-field arcade.
Pena also singled in the fourth, before lining a base hit to center in the sixth to break a 3-all tie. Center fielder Jason Ellison made a great throw home, but the ball skipped off the front of the mound and catcher Mike Matheny trapped it but couldn’t gather it in, allowing Griffey to score the go-ahead run.
Rookie Lance Niekro hit a two-run homer in the first for his 10th of the season, but that was the only big hit in San Francisco’s fourth straight loss following a four-game winning streak.
J.T. Snow scored on a wild pitch in the ninth for the Giants.
Milton (4-9), making his team-leading 18th start and first appearance at SBC Park, came in 0-5 in seven road starts, but quickly bounced back after Niekro’s homer—the major-league leading 28th surrendered by Milton this season. Alex Sanchez hit a two-out single for San Francisco in the second, then Milton retired the next 12 batters he faced before Pedro Feliz walked in the sixth.
“You’ve got to put the runs out of your mind,” Milton said. “I was in a pretty good groove and that got the team going.”
The lefty hadn’t won since May 23 against Washington, a span of seven starts — going 0-4 with three no-decisions during the stretch. This was his longest outing since that win, too.
He allowed three runs and six hits, struck out three and walked one. Milton noticed watching tape that he needed to get his legs more involved in his delivery, which has helped increase his velocity recently.
“He wants to pitch well,” Narron said. “He wants to show everybody he can pitch well.”
Noah Lowry (5-8) didn’t fare as well in his second career meeting with the Reds. The left-hander, in his first full major league campaign, pitched a complete-game, three-hit shutout to beat Cincinnati for his first major league win last Aug. 3.
“Any time you throw a shutout, that’s hard to match,” Lowry said. “They had a couple hits that just fell into places. That’s the way baseball goes sometimes. … We scored early and I didn’t come out and hold them.”
Lowry’s pitch count got high in a hurry this time. He threw 119 pitches in six innings, allowed four runs on eight hits, struck out seven and walked two.
Giants 2B Ray Durham came in as a defensive replacement in the seventh for his 1,500th game. … Cincinnati and San Francisco play eight times this season, the most meetings for the clubs since 2000. … Giants RHP Brett Tomko, taken out of the rotation for one turn last week, will pitch Thursday. But the Giants are weighing what to do with struggling LHP Kirk Rueter (2-7), whose winless stretch reached nine starts in Monday’s 11-10 loss. Manager Felipe Alou said the team had discussed “generalities about pitching,” but had yet to address Rueter’s situation in particular. … Reds INF Anderson Machado (rebuilt left knee) will be activated from the disabled list Wednesday. Narron said he will use Machado at 2B, OF and some at SS, but that All-Star Felipe Lopez would remain the primary SS. … Injured Giants closer Armando Benitez, recovering from surgery to repair two torn hamstring tendons, threw on the field and is hopeful he’ll be pitching from a mound soon.