Pence's first HR helps Giants hold off Reds

Pence's first HR helps Giants hold off Reds

CINCINNATI -- Using home runs from Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence and three RBIs from Nori Aoki, the Giants outlasted the Reds for a wild 9-8 win on Sunday at Great American Ball Park to claim three of four games in the series. San Francisco scored 30 runs over the three straight wins.

"It was a hard-fought game," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "They would punch back and we would punch back. The key was, we kept adding on."

The Giants took early leads of 4-0 through two innings and 6-1 after the third. In the second against Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani, San Francisco sent nine to the plate with five hits and four runs -- including Aoki's two-run single. Pence hit a two-run homer in the top of the third inning, his first of the season following Saturday's return from the disabled list. DeSclafani finished with a season-high six earned runs and six hits allowed over a season-low three innings.

Aoki's two-run single

Cincinnati provided its own nine-batter rally in the bottom of the third against Chris Heston, scoring four runs on four hits. Heston was pulled six hitters into the inning without retiring a batter in his shortest outing of 2015.

"I don't think we ever thought we were out of it," said Reds right fielder Jay Bruce, who hit homers in each of the last two games. "We're trying to pick the pitchers up. There are going to be days where they have to pick us up. It's one of those things, it's back and forth. What are you going to do, give up?"

The Giants and Reds traded runs in the fifth inning, with Brandon Phillips keeping his team in the game with a one-out solo homer to left field. But the Giants added another run against Tony Cingrani in the seventh, and Belt's third homer in three games in the eighth against Jumbo Diaz helped keep the Reds at bay.

"This is more like what we're capable of doing," Belt said. "Hopefully this gave us a little confidence."

In the Reds' eighth, Joey Votto blooped a double past a sliding Aoki in left field. Crawford ran from the infield to get the ball, but his throw hit Brayan Pena on the back as he slid into third, and he scored to make it a one-run game. Votto, said Reds manager Bryan Price, wasn't past second base when the throw was made, or he might have been awarded home, too.

Bruce heating up: For the first time this season, Bruce had consecutive multihit games for the Reds as he went 3-for-5 with a two-out solo homer to right-center field in the seventh inning. Bruce, who has seven homers on the season, last had consecutive multihit games Aug 3-5, 2014. More >

Bruce's solo shot

Lucky bounce: The Giants caught a break with reliever Yusmeiro Petit pitching in the fifth inning. Skip Schumaker belted a long fly ball that fell between two San Francisco outfielders on the warning track in right-center. Billy Hamilton was well on his way to scoring from second when the ball hopped into the stands. Schumaker was instead credited with a ground-rule double. Hamilton was sent back to third base, and Zack Cozart popped up to end the inning.

Bases-loaded rally: Heston saw his 6-1 lead nearly slip away when the Reds rallied in the bottom of the third inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, Marlon Byrd fisted an RBI single to short-center field before Phillips was hit by a pitch to force home another run. Bruce narrowly missed a grand slam, settling for a long RBI single off the right-field wall. Before the inning was over, Cincinnati scored four runs and made it a 6-5 game.

Bruce's long RBI single

An immaculate inning: Giants closer Santiago Casilla sealed the win for his ninth save by striking out the side on nine pitches. More >

"Maybe today was a sign of much better things to happen offensively. I hope so, because I really think we have the pieces here to be outstanding offensively -- a lot better than we have the past year-plus." -- Price

In the top of the second inning with Pence on first base, Crawford hit a ball up the middle that was stopped by shortstop Cozart and flipped on the run to Phillips at second base. The toss forced Phillips to stretch for the catch as Pence slid, but he seemed to keep his foot on the bag, despite second-base umpire Dan Bellino ruling Pence safe. The Reds challenged, and the call stood. After the challenge, the game was delayed for 24 minutes due to rain.

Crawford's RBI single stands

Giants: The Giants are idle Monday, then host the Dodgers for three games beginning Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. PT. Tim Hudson will start the series opener against Carlos Frias. Hudson is 6-6 with a 4.03 ERA in his career against Los Angeles.

Reds: Following an off-day on Monday, the Reds start a five-game Interleague road trip with a quick two-game series vs. the Royals at Kansas City. In the 8:10 p.m. ET first pitch, ace Johnny Cueto will start for Cincinnati against Yordano Ventura. Cueto is 13-5 with a 2.58 ERA in 24 career starts against American League teams.

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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.