Cabrera’s four hits lead Reds over Giants
CINCINNATI – The NL’s most prolific offense followed Orlando Cabrera all the way home.
The Reds’ leadoff hitter had four hits and scored three times, getting the league’s top offense moving at full throttle, and Aaron Harang rebounded from his shortest start of the year Wednesday night, leading Cincinnati over the San Francisco Giants 6-3.
Cabrera had been in a slump of sorts – 0 for 12 despite hitting the ball hard – before he piled up a single and three doubles.
“That’s what quality veterans do,” manager Dusty Baker said. “They say, ‘Hop on and enjoy the ride.”‘
Cabrera moved into the leadoff spot on May 5 and solved a long-standing problem for the Reds, who have tried for the last few years to find someone who can hit at the top. With Cabrera getting it started, Cincinnati leads the league in runs, hits and homers.
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“Nobody’s worried about Orlando Cabrera,” Scott Rolen said. “He plays hard every day.”
Rolen had a pair of RBI doubles off Jonathan Sanchez (4-5), and Jonny Gomes drove in three runs with a double and a bases-loaded walk.
Harang (5-5) gave up five hits and two runs in seven innings. The right-hander lasted a season-low four innings in his previous appearance.
Buster Posey hit his first career homer for the Giants. His two-run shot in the second inning landed in the upper deck in left field.
Other than Posey, Harang had little problem with a lineup that’s got several players in deep slumps. He escaped a two-out, bases-loaded threat in the seventh when Freddy Sanchez – currently the Giants’ best hitter – lined out to right.
Harang finally evened his record after starting the season 0-3.
“It was definitely tough early in the season to get that far behind, but I climbed back,” Harang said. “I tweaked some things in the bullpen, and that helped me turn it around mentally.”
Closer Francisco Cordero, pitching in a non-save situation, gave up an RBI double by Andres Torres in the ninth.
San Francisco had won 10 of its last 14 on the strength of its starting rotation, among the best in the majors.
Jonathan Sanchez couldn’t keep his fastball or slider in the strike zone often enough. He gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings, needing 93 pitches to get that far. He also walked Gomes with the bases loaded.
“They make you work,” Sanchez said. “You’ve got to throw strikes or they’re going to take all day. They made me work.”
The Reds are vying with St. Louis for first place in the NL Central largely because of a balanced offense. Cabrera and Rolen – both 35-year-old infielders – have been the catalysts, steadying a young lineup.
Rolen has hit safely in his past nine games. Cabrera matched his career high for hits, and nearly scored a fourth time – umpire Gary Darling ruled that catcher Eli Whiteside brushed his leg as he ran past while trying to score on Brandon Phillips’ single.
Drew Stubbs hit a solo homer off Sergio Romo, and Gomes added a two-run double off left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, making his first appearance since May 30 because of a sore hamstring.
Posey’s homer extended his hitting streak to eight games and allowed him to circle the bases for the first time. He played in seven games at the end of last season and was called up on May 29.
“It was nice to get it out of the way, I guess,” Posey said. “In Triple-A it took me like 20 games to hit the first one last year. I didn’t want it to take 20 games here.”
NOTES: Giants OF Mark DeRosa will have more tests on his left wrist Thursday. He’s been sidelined for a month because of numbness in the hand. … Reds RHP Edinson Volquez is expected to make his first rehab start at Class A on Saturday. Volquez had reconstructive elbow surgery Aug. 30. He’s nearing the end of a 50-game suspension for using a banned fertility substance. … Hits king Pete Rose watched from a seat behind home plate and got an ovation when he was showed on the videoboard. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, who is working with the Reds, later joined him. Rose occasionally attends games in his hometown.
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