SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Dusty Baker hopes that the way his team scored runs Saturday night, maybe the Reds will finally get on a nice roll.
The Reds barely held off a ninth-inning rally, matched their season high with 15 hits and scored their second most runs of the year.
“It’s never easy is it? It’s a win,” said Baker, the team’s first-year skipper. “Fortunately for us we scored a lot of runs tonight.”
Matt Belisle (1-1) labored through five innings but won in his second start of the year. He lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in his debut last Monday. Joey Votto had three hits with a double and scored twice and Jeff Keppinger also had three hits as the Reds earned just their fourth win in the last 15 games.
The Reds gave Baker a victory back in the Bay Area, where he managed the Giants from 1993 through their 2002 World Series season, and general manager Walt Jocketty his first win since taking over Wednesday for the fired Wayne Krivsky.
On this night, the Reds outplayed the Giants in every facet for most of the game, including making several heads-up plays on the bases while taking advantage of some defensive mistakes by San Francisco.
“It’s fun to play and hopefully tonight will get us on a roll,” Bako said. “If we get our pitching and offense in sync, we’ll be all right.”
The Giants rallied with four runs in the ninth. Backup catcher Steve Holm doubled off Todd Coffey to start things off, then scored on Jose Castillo’s RBI double moments later. Fred Lewis walked and closer Francisco Cordero entered and immediately gave up a two-run triple to Eugenio Velez and Randy Winn’s RBI groundout.
Cordero then recorded the final two outs for his third save in as many chances.
Ken Griffey Jr. stayed put at 597 home runs, going 1-for-4 with a double, strikeout and a pair of walks, including an intentional free pass. The slugger went 0-for-4 in the series opener Friday.
The Giants lost starter Kevin Correia in the first inning to a strained muscle in his left side. He was undergoing an MRI and manager Bruce Bochy expected to know more about his status Sunday.
Lewis tripled in the first and had a splash-hit home run into McCovey Cove in the fifth—the first Giant to do so since indicted home run king Barry Bonds reached the water on Aug. 8 last year. Adam LaRoche of the Pittsburgh Pirates was the most recent player to homer into the water on Aug. 11 last year.
Lewis’ solo shot off Belisle on the first pitch of the fifth inning marked the 46th time a San Francisco batter has connected into the water. Lewis added a single in the seventh.
“He’s doing everything you’d want from a leadoff hitter,” Bochy said.
Phillips’ performance certainly pleased Baker, who held the slumping second baseman out of the starting lineup Friday before he came in and added a pinch-hit homer for his team’s lone run in the 3-1 loss.
“Brandon is swinging the bat well,” Baker said. “We have a lot of guys swinging the bat, getting a lot of hits.”
Correia threw a high 1-1 pitch to Griffey with one out in the first and Keppinger aboard on a single when the right-hander felt something and braced his glove arm against his side. Athletic trainer Dave Groeschner, pitching coach Dave Righetti and Bochy rushed to the mound and checked on the pitcher, who then left the game.
Brad Hennessey (1-1) had to warm up hurriedly on the mound to replace Correia and then finished Correia’s walk. In a strange phenomenon, Correia made nine pitches with six strikes but still got credited with the base on balls. Hennessey hit an RBI single in the second in his first at-bat of 2008.
“It catches you off guard,” Hennessey said of being thrown into the game that way. “You’ve got to go out there and try to get the outs.”
The Giants will send Barry Zito (0-5) to the mound in Sunday’s rubber game with the left-hander still looking for his first victory of the year.
Winn returned to San Francisco’s starting lineup in right field after missing the previous two games with stiffness in his neck.
A large juvenile black-crowned night-heron bird watched from a high perch at the top of the backstop for the first three innings before flying through the field and away. … World Cup soccer star Brandi Chastain threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … In honor of the Giants’ 50th anniversary season in San Francisco, the club is featuring historic moments on sets of tickets— with Baker being recognized on Saturday’s tickets. … Giants LHP Noah Lowry, recovering from forearm surgery, will undergo a nerve conduction test Tuesday. … San Francisco INF Kevin Frandsen has begun lifting weights with his upper body as he recovers from Achilles’ tendon surgery that will sideline him all season.