CINCINNATI (AP) — Kevin Pillar climbed the fence and made a spectacular grab on Nick Senzel’s drive in the third.
The Reds’ top prospect left no doubt his next time up.
Senzel hit his first major league homer two innings after being robbed of one by San Francisco’s center fielder, and Cincinnati beat the Giants 9-2 Saturday night.
He followed Derek Dietrich’s third homer in two games with his own solo shot into the right field seats, one of five homers for the Reds. Dietrich and Yasiel Puig hoisted Senzel into the air after he touched home plate.
“I’m extremely happy with my at-bats today,” Senzel said. “I thought I hit the first one better, but it kind of came back. It was a 3-2 fastball. He didn’t want to walk me. The second one was a fastball down the middle. I got the ball. The kid who caught it, was his birthday.”
Eugenio Suarez hit a three-run drive, Puig added a no-doubter among his season-high three hits, and Tucker Barnhart also went deep, boosting Cincinnati’s count to eight over the last two games — a nice uptick for an offense that’s ranked among baseball’s worst this season. All five of Cincinnati’s homers were two-out shots.
Saturday’s outburst was more than enough for Tanner Roark, who set season highs with 6 2/3 innings pitched and seven strikeouts. That took pressure off a bullpen that allowed nine runs in six innings while the Reds squandered an 8-0 lead in a 12-11, 11-inning loss to the Giants on Friday. Cody Reed pitched the last 2 1/3 innings in his first appearance of the season.
Roark (2-1) allowed four hits, two runs and two walks while improving to 7-1 in nine career games against the Giants.
“It is just one of those things,” Roark said. “Moving my hands to get my arm moving faster was the difference.”
Dereck Rodriguez gave up four of Cincinnati’s homers on the way to his first loss in four road starts this season. Rodriguez (3-4) set career highs by allowing eight hits and eight runs. He walked four with one strikeout in five innings.
“I was behind in the count most of the day,” Rodriguez said. “Instead of nibbling at the corners, I was catching too much of the plate, I was middle and middle up. I was giving them good pitches to hit in hitters’ counts.
Pillar, whose diving catch Friday in Senzel’s major league debut delayed his first career hit, went to the fence in straightaway center field and, while in the air, stretched for a backhand stab before pulling his glove down a bit to make the circus catch with two outs.
“He’s made so many good catches, but this was one of his best, and he made it look easy,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
The Reds celebrated the 150th anniversary of baseball’s first professional game, on May 4, 1869, by wearing the first of the season’s 15 planned throwback uniforms. Saturday’s outfits were from the 1902 season.
The Giants optioned RHP Tyler Beede to Triple-A Sacramento and recalled pitcher Pat Venditte, who can pitch with either hand. Beede didn’t make it through the third inning of his start on Friday.
The Reds released injured LF Matt Kemp and optioned CF Scott Schebler to Triple-A Louisville before Saturday’s game. Kemp had been out since April 23 with a broken left rib. Schebler was hitting .123 and had lost his starting center field spot to Senzel.
Giants: 3B Evan Longoria was scratched from the lineup after developing overnight stiffness and inflammation in his left shoulder. Pablo Sandoval replaced Longoria in the lineup.
Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 3.53) faces the Reds on Sunday for the first in almost two full seasons since getting the decision in an 8-3 win on May 14, 2017.
Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (3-1, 1.45) makes his first start on Sunday since being named the NL Pitcher of the Month.
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