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Reds pound Giants for third time in four games

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Cincinnati Reds had their 2012 season end at the hands of the San Francisco Giants.

On Wednesday night, the second-place team in the National League wild-card race capped a 72-hour demolition that makes the chances of a 2013 repeat quite unlikely.

Mike Leake helped his cause with a career-best three hits and scattered 12 hits over six-plus innings on the mound, lifting the Reds to an 8-3 win over Giants to cap a 3-1 series domination.

Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Devin Mesoraco had two hits apiece as the Reds completed a trouncing of the defending World Series champions. Cincinnati outscored San Francisco 31-11 over three days that included a doubleheader split Tuesday.

Cincinnati had 55 hits, 15 doubles and 22 extra-base hits in the series, all AT&T Park records for a visiting team.

The Reds won six of seven games against the Giants in the season series, prevailing by a 45-14 margin.

Cincinnati leaves San Francisco a full 11 1/2 games ahead of the Giants in the wild-card race. San Francisco also trails the National League West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers by a season-high 7 1/2 games.

"Nothing surprises me," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of the one-sided matchup against the team he skippered into the 2002 World Series. "We dominated them the first two games of the playoffs last year and they came back to beat us. I've been around long enough to know you can't try to predict these things."

Leake (10-4) stranded 10 Giants baserunners while running his career record against San Francisco to 5-1. He allowed one run, walked two and struck out two.

"It was a battle," the right-hander said. "I've given up 12 hits before, but I don't think I've ever given up the combination (of 12 hits and just one run)."

Right-hander Sam LeCure relieved Leake with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh and stranded three more Giants. One of the outs came when he got pinch hitter Buster Posey to ground to first baseman Votto, who threw for a forceout at the plate.

Leake, who amassed just five hits in 41 at-bats in his first 19 starts, raised his average from .122 to .178 with his fourth- and seventh-inning singles and fifth-inning double. The extra-base hit was his first of the season.

"That's nice for a change," he said of his hitting prowess. "It's been a few games since I've gotten on base. It's just nice to make contact."

The Reds, who were completing the first leg on an 11-game road trip, broke the game open early with a three-run third inning and a two-run fourth against Chad Gaudin (4-2). The Giants right-hander had been unbeaten in seven starts this season.

Mesoraco capped the third with a run-scoring single, his first of two RBIs in the game. He had seven RBIs in the series, going 8-for-16.

"It wasn't a real pretty game, but we won," Baker said. "It's just nice to come out of here and win three out of four."

Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence, batting third and fourth in a starting lineup that did not include Posey, combined for seven of the Giants' 15 hits.

Pence went 5-for-5, matching a career high for hits last accomplished for the Houston Astros in May 2008. Sandoval's two hits included a two-run double in the eighth inning that helped make the final score respectable.

"It's definitely frustrating," Pence said of the missed opportunities. "We feel we can play better baseball.

"Last year we had a lot of quality hitting, quality defense, quality pitching. And we were getting the breaks. This year, it hasn't happened so far. But we have some brilliant minds. You have to believe the tide will turn."

The Giants, who out-hit the Reds 15-13, stranded 15 baserunners in all.

Marco Scutaro, who scored two runs, and Brandon Crawford also had two-hit games for the Giants, who were out-hit 55-39 in the high-scoring series.

Gaudin, who had allowed a total of just two runs in his previous four starts, couldn't make it out of the fourth inning. He issued a season-worst five walks, which combined with seven hits produced six runs.

NOTES: Leake became the first pitcher to allow 12 hits and bang out three of his own since Mike Hampton did it for the Colorado Rockies in July 1999. ... 3B Todd Frazier had just one of the Reds' hits, but it allowed him to hit safely in all seven games of the season series with the Giants. His five doubles in the four-game series in San Francisco were the most ever by a Giants opponent. ... San Francsico pitching coach Dave Righetti had elbow surgery Wednesday and missed the series finale. He's expected to rejoin the team Friday. ... Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong made his first start Tuesday since breaking his right (pitching) hand May 20, throwing two shutout innings for Class A San Jose. The 2011 All-Star is scheduled to extend to 35 pitches in a start for Triple-A Fresno on Friday. ... Reds LF Ryan Ludwick (Class A Dayton) and Giants INF Joaquin Arias (Fresno) began injury-rehab assignments Wednesday. ... As expected, both starting pitchers from the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader -- Reds LHP Tony Cingrani and Giants LHP Eric Surkamp -- were sent back to the minors. The Reds plan to recall Cingrani to start Sunday in Los Angeles. ... The Reds open a four-game series against the Dodgers on Thursday night. The Giants get a day off before hosting the Chicago Cubs in a three-game series that begins Friday.
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