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Reds charge out in 4-run 1st, cap winning trip

MLB.com @m_sheldon

SAN FRANCISCO -- No matter what they did Wednesday vs. the Giants, the Reds were assured of going home with a winning West Coast road trip. But following back-to-back losses to begin the series, Cincinnati came out swinging and pitchers protected what often seemed to be a perilous lead.

Buoyed by a four-run top of the first, the Reds took a 6-3 victory over San Francisco at AT&T Park. They pounced quickly on Giants starter Andrew Suarez as he surrendered four hits and all four first-inning runs before he recorded an out.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- No matter what they did Wednesday vs. the Giants, the Reds were assured of going home with a winning West Coast road trip. But following back-to-back losses to begin the series, Cincinnati came out swinging and pitchers protected what often seemed to be a perilous lead.

Buoyed by a four-run top of the first, the Reds took a 6-3 victory over San Francisco at AT&T Park. They pounced quickly on Giants starter Andrew Suarez as he surrendered four hits and all four first-inning runs before he recorded an out.

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"That was big. You never want to get swept," Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett said. "We've been in almost every game the last few weeks. It's been fun to have energy in the dugout all nine innings and to be in games. If we need three or four runs in the ninth, we still feel confident that we can get up there and battle and at least get the tying run to the plate and make something happen. It's been a lot of fun."

Jose Peraza opened the game against Suarez with a single to center field and Gennett followed with a ground-rule double that bounced just inside the left-field line. Following a night off with lower back tightness, Joey Votto returned to the starting lineup with an RBI single that made it 1-0.

Video: CIN@SF: Votto goes the other way to plate Peraza

Three pitches later in a 2-0 count, Adam Duvall slugged a three-run homer, his team-leading eighth of the season. Cincinnati sent eight men to the plate during the rally.

Video: CIN@SF: Duvall crushes a 3-run homer to left field

"I am really proud of the way our guys battled after a couple of tough losses. To put four on the board early today was big," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said.

Reds starter Matt Harvey had to battle throughout his four-inning afternoon, giving up three runs and seven hits while striking out five. An Andrew McCutchen RBI double and a Pablo Sandoval sacrifice fly cut Cincinnati's lead in half in the bottom of the first. A Brandon Belt homer to lead off the Giants' second inning made it a one-run game.

Video: CIN@SF: Belt crushes a solo HR off Harvey in the 3rd

In the fifth, Cincinnati pulled away when a passed ball scored Votto. Gennett launched a solo homer to right field in the seventh against reliever Cory Gearrin.

Video: CIN@SF: Gennett rips a solo homer to right field

Meanwhile, the Reds' bullpen posted zeros. Wandy Peralta replaced Harvey and worked two scoreless innings despite two hits and two walks and a bases-loaded jam in the sixth. Jared Hughes allowed a pair of one-out hits in the seventh but also delivered two scoreless innings.

Video: CIN@SF: Hughes coaxes DP to work out of a jam

Raisel Iglesias gave up a leadoff single but picked up three outs to notch his eighth save.

"Wandy got himself into trouble and wiggled his way out," Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart said. "Jared was as good as he's been all season. Iggy came in and shut the door. I can't speak more highly of those guys."

Video: CIN@SF: Iglesias freezes Belt to pick up the save

The Reds haven't gone 5-2 on a West Coast road trip since 2011.

"Four games in L.A., sweep the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, and then come here and take the last game of the series is huge," Barnhart said. "Hopefully we'll build some momentum moving forward here before a big series against the Cubs."

Video: CIN@SF: Riggleman commends 'pen's effort in 6-3 win

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Foul-ball call saves Votto: With two outs in the top of the fifth against Suarez, Votto locked into an 11-pitch plate appearance. On the seventh pitch and a 3-2 count, Votto hit a grounder near first base that Sandoval fielded before touching first base. The Giants thought they had the third out but umpire Mark Ripperger called it foul. All four umpires conferred but the call remained. Votto fouled off three more pitches before drawing a walk. He went to third base on Duvall's single and scored an insurance run when Nick Hundley let a pitch to Scott Schebler get by him for the passed ball.

Video: CIN@SF: Votto fouls one off, questions fair or foul

"That's a fair ball and it cost us a run there," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's what I saw. It was a ground ball, it was a fair ball, and he was out. He thought it hit him. They got together and they didn't overturn it. But the ball didn't hit him. That's a bad break for Suarez. He ends up scoring there."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Nice Duvall catch: In the bottom of the first inning with runners on the corners and one out, Sandoval lifted a deep drive to left field. Duvall made a spectacular running catch as he fell at the warning track to take away a hit and save at least a run, while leaving Sandoval to settle for a sacrifice fly. According to Statcast™, it was a four-star catch as Duvall ran 90 feet in 5.1 seconds to make a play with a 41 percent catch probability.

"The defense has been there every day for us. He made another nice play today," Riggleman said. "He's a pro. He's working. He's trying to come out of this little funk he's in. But he's putting up some power numbers and RBIs as he's going through it."

Video: CIN@SF: Duvall races down fly ball with great slide

Clutch catch by Gennett: Peralta was in danger of losing the lead when a Kelby Tomlinson two-out single loaded the bases in the sixth. Pinch-hitter Gorkys Hernandez skied a fly ball near the right-field foul line. As three Reds converged, Gennett ran the longest from second base and made a great running catch while nearly running over Schebler before rolling over in foul territory.

"Scheb's probably on my list of guys I don't want to collide with. He's a pretty built guy and runs really fast, too," Gennett said. "That would have been a tough one to collide with. In that situation, it was worth the risk to save a run.

"I knew it was close, but either way, even if it was foul, I'd try to get the out because that's a big situation right there because we're only up by two runs at that point. So I'm glad we didn't give them another chance to add on some more runs."

Video: CIN@SF: Gennett makes tough grab in right field

UP NEXT
The Reds will be off Thursday and resume play by opening a four-game series at 7:10 p.m. ET Friday with the Cubs at Great American Ball Park. Homer Bailey will start for Cincinnati and pursue his second win in a row while facing Chicago's Kyle Hendricks. Bailey (1-5, 5.59) is 8-3 with a 4.53 ERA in 18 career starts vs. the Cubs. After getting what amounts to two days off to rest a sore right ankle, third baseman Eugenio Suarez seems like a good bet to return to the lineup after he did not start Wednesday.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Adam Duvall, Scooter Gennett, Matt Harvey, Joey Votto