Giants 4, Reds 1
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—It took well into the season’s second half for the San Francisco Giants to start playing with the sense of urgency manager Felipe Alou has been looking for all year.
The way they’re competing now, the Giants aren’t even thinking about the consolation prize of the NL wild card considering the West is still anybody’s division to win.
Shea Hillenbrand homered for the second straight game for No. 100 in his career and Noah Lowry won back-to-back starts for the first time all season, leading the Giants past the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 Saturday for their 10th victory in 13 games.
“I see the guys understanding that we don’t have time or room to make mistakes,” Alou said. “We can’t afford to beat ourselves. They know that. The time left is not that big. The shot is legitimate.”
Hillenbrand hit a two-run shot in the seventh inning for San Francisco, which began the day 3 1/2 games behind NL West-leading Los Angeles and pulled within three games of the Reds in the wild-card race.
David Ross hit his 18th home run in the sixth, snapping a stretch of 16 1-3 scoreless innings by San Francisco starters.
The Reds lost their second in a row three games into a season-long 10-game, 11-day road trip. Cincinnati trails first-place St. Louis by two games in the NL Central.
“It’s not going to be easy,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “We just have to come out of it, and we will.”
Hillenbrand connected for his fifth homer since being traded from Toronto to the Giants on July 21. His 17th homer overall chased Reds starter Bronson Arroyo (10-9).
“He’s starting to pay big dividends,” Alou said.
Winn doubled to start the fifth and wound up scoring when center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. made a wild throw that deflected off second baseman Brandon Phillips’ glove and caromed down the far dugout stairs for a two-base error.
Lowry (7-7) looked strong again after coming off a career-best two-hit shutout Monday night against Arizona that ended a five-start winless stretch. He gave up six hits, struck out three and walked three in eight innings while fighting a cold. He hopes his last two outings will carry him into the final month.
“This team never gives up, never quits,” Lowry said. “Hopefully we can string a couple of wins together. It’s crunch time.”
Stanton and some of his fellow veterans recently told the youngsters in the clubhouse not to panic because there was still lots of baseball left—even if things seemed awfully bleak when San Francisco fell 7 1/2 games back at Los Angeles on Aug. 13 with a fifth straight loss.
“We’re in a good situation right now,” Stanton said.
Arroyo didn’t allow a hit until Ray Durham’s one-out single in the fourth, and Feliz lined a double three batters later to get the Giants on the board.
Hillenbrand, who hit a go-ahead solo homer in Friday night’s 4-1 win, had an 11-pitch at-bat against Arroyo with two outs in the first before striking out swinging.
Arroyo, 0-3 in four career appearances against the Giants, allowed eight hits and four runs, struck out six and walked four.
Griffey extended his season-best hitting streak to 11 games with a two-out single in the seventh.
The 42-year-old Bonds needs one more walk for his 13th straight season with at least 100 walks, which will tie Babe Ruth for most in major league history. … Reds closer Eddie Guardado, on the DL with tendinitis in his left forearm, played catch to test the injury and still felt some pain in the area. … Former Giants 1B J.T. Snow was in the stands and received a rousing ovation when shown on the big screen in the middle of the second. … The game drew 41,362 fans for San Francisco’s 20th sellout.