From Game 4 of the World Series through the end of the last homestand, the Giants never got past the six-run mark. They’ve now done it twice in four games.
Brandon Belt broke through and hit his first homer and the rest of the Giants followed along in a 10-2 demolition of the Reds at a scorching Great American Ball Park. Belt’s three-run shot in the first got the lineup going and the Giants went on to total 13 hits, three coming from Belt.
The first baseman slumped terribly during the first three games of this road trip and generally looked lost at the plate, but he was on every pitch against Jason Marquis and the Reds bullpen. Madison Bumgarner gave a run back after Belt’s homer, but Buster Posey hit a two-run blast in the third, his team-leading sixth. Even Casey McGehee got into the act, driving in a sixth run with a sharp single to right.
The Giants got going again in the seventh, with Belt driving Angel Pagan in with a double and then scoring on Justin Maxwell’s double. Brandon Crawford’s single to center made it 9-2 and gave the Giants a season-high in runs.
The Giants won for just the fourth time in their last 16 regular season games at Great American Ball Park, and did so on a night they found out right fielder Hunter Pence will return to the lineup Saturday.
Starting pitching report: It was only appropriate that Mr. Fire on the Mountain would pitch well on a night a part of the ballpark literally started burning. Bumgarner gave up eight hits and two earned in seven innings, earning his fourth win of the season. The lefty had a 4.63 ERA through his first four starts but has allowed just six earned over 27 1/3 innings in the last four.
Bullpen report: Yusmeiro Petit took this one to the finish line. He hasn’t allowed a run in his past five appearances.
At the plate: Try figuring this one out …
Belt on the homestand: 14-for-34, 7 extra-base hits, 6 strikeouts
Belt the first three games of this trip: 1-for-13, 8 strikeouts
Belt tonight: 3-for-5, HR, 2B, 4 RBI
In the field: You could pick Maxwell’s diving catch, but we’ve seen that one about a half-dozen times already in the season’s first two months. Instead, a tip of the cap to Bumgarner, who went into a slide and barehanded the ball when Michael Lorenzen hit a swinging bunt. Bumgarner, listed at 6-foot-5, 245-pounds, made a perfect throw to first from his knees.
Up next: The return of the Reverend. Hunter Pence is expected back in the lineup for Saturday’s game. As for the pitching matchup, it’s Ryan Vogelsong against Mike Leake, an underrated right-hander. Vogelsong has a 1.64 ERA in four home appearances and a 13.50 ERA in three road games.