HRs, Pence's return spark Giants past Reds

HRs, Pence's return spark Giants past Reds

CINCINNATI -- Brandon Crawford notched a career-high six RBIs, including a grand slam in the fifth inning that buried the Reds in an 11-2 victory for the Giants on Saturday at Great American Ball Park. San Francisco is a National League-best 15-8 since April 23 and can win the four-game series with another win Sunday.

Reds starter Mike Leake, who came in 5-1 with a 1.91 ERA over his last six starts vs. San Francisco, did not have it on the mound. Over his five innings, Leake gave up a career-high nine earned runs and 11 hits with one walk, two strikeouts and three home runs.

The Giants took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on Brandon Belt's solo homer and Crawford's lined RBI single. Gregor Blanco made it 3-0 with his one-out homer in the third. Crawford hit an RBI double off Leake during a two-run top of the fourth but did his most damage in the fifth, when he jumped on a first pitch for the grand slam that made it a nine-run game.

Crawford drives in six runs

The main beneficiary of this offensive gluttony was Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong, who pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed two earned runs and six hits. He retired his first eight in a row and didn't allow a run until Jay Bruce hit a solo homer with one out in the sixth. Three more hits followed, including pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker's RBI double with two outs to end Vogelsong's night.

"You have to credit them," Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart said of the Giants. "They're the world champions, for a reason. They played well tonight."

Looks healthy to me: Hunter Pence, on the disabled list all season until being activated Saturday, reached safely and scored a run in each of his first three plate appearances. He doubled to right-center in the second inning and scored on Crawford's hit to center. Pence singled through the right side in the fourth, later scoring on a Crawford double, and walked in the fifth and came home on Crawford's grand slam.

"I just love to play," Pence said. "I'm grateful to be back. It was good to be able to be part of the team and to help contribute. I came knowing I could play, knowing I felt good." More >

Pence's double in first at-bat

Bruce needed that: The struggling Bruce, who was given a night off Friday when lefty Madison Bumgarner started for the Giants, has had a decent track record vs. Vogelsong. Entering 6-for-17 vs. the right-hander, Bruce hit a rolling single past an unguarded third base against the shift in the fourth inning. In the sixth, his homer to right field was his first long ball since April 29.

"Any time you hit a home run, it's good. The hit wasn't pretty but I'll take it," Bruce said. "I'll just keep working. It's one game. There are a lot of games left. Tonight is over with and I'm ready to go work tomorrow."

Bruce's solo home run

Power surge: Belt opened the scoring in the second inning, jumping on Leake's first pitch for a 409-foot home run to center. Belt's bomb was his second in two days after coming into Friday as the only everyday first baseman in the NL without a homer.

Belt's solo homer

"We've had our ups and downs with getting runs on the board, but Pence got us on the board, Crawford had a big day ... everybody did something." -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

Giants: The four-game series concludes Sunday at 10:10 a.m. PT at Great American Ball Park. Chris Heston will try to maintain the momentum from his complete-game victory Tuesday at Houston, when he struck out 10 and allowed just two hits.

Reds: Anthony DeSclafani will start Sunday's 1:10 p.m. ET series and homestand finale for the Reds. It will be DeSclafani's first time facing San Francisco. Command has been an issue for the rookie in his last four starts. He has issued 14 walks over the past 21 innings pitched.

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Andy Call is a contributor to Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.