CINCINNATI -- During his postgame interview on Saturday night, Reds manager David Bell used the word “determination” more than once, saying his players were determined to bounce back after relinquishing an eight-run lead in a loss to the Giants on Friday. Suffice it to say, they responded in a big way.
Nick Senzel’s first career home run highlighted a nine-run, five-homer outburst by the Reds in a 9-2 victory over the Giants on Saturday at Great American Ball Park.
“After last night’s game, it says a lot about our team,” Bell said. “I know it’s just one game, but to me it says all you need to know. [Friday’s loss] tested some toughness. I know it tested mine.”
The Reds held leads of 8-0 and 10-3 in Friday’s 12-11, 11-inning loss, but this time they held on behind a solid start from right-hander Tanner Roark, who allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings with a season-high seven strikeouts and 113 pitches.
“Made the little mechanical adjustment with my windup, to move a little quicker,” Roark said. “I have to give credit to my dad [Toby] who said after my last start that my tempo’s too slow. I need to get the sign and go. It helped out a lot. I threw 113 pitches, not in five [innings], which is a positive.”
Eugenio Suarez, Derek Dietrich, Tucker Barnhart and Yasiel Puig also homered for Cincinnati. The Reds have now homered eight times in the first two games of the four-game series.
Dietrich, who hit his eighth home run in the fifth inning, has homered three times in the first two contests. He started at second base in each of those games.
“He’s doing a lot to help us win games right now,” Bell said. “He’s had success in the past, but he’s maturing. He’s really finding a groove offensively.”
Dietrich and Suarez are now tied with Jesse Winker for the team lead in home runs with eight.
Senzel was denied his first homer when Giants center fielder Kevin Pillar leaped over the center-field wall to make the catch to end the third.
But in his next at-bat, the 23-year-old rookie sent an 0-1 fastball from Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez into the right-center-field stands for his first big fly since being promoted from Triple-A on Friday.
“Last night was a tough loss,” Senzel said. “It’s a new day. We were going to go out and give the pitchers some support. It was a really good team win.”
Roark improved to 7-1 in nine career appearances against the Giants, his best winning percentage against any National League team. His four hits allowed on Saturday also matched a season low.
“Roark did a great job,” Bell said. “He knew exactly what we needed from him and he provided that. He was feeling strong all the way until the end. He was determined to give us that tonight.”
All nine runs scored by the Reds came with two outs, and the Giants allowed five home runs in a game for the first time since Sept. 9, 2017, against the White Sox.
Left-hander Cody Reed, who was recalled from Triple-A prior to game to give the Reds some bullpen depth following Friday’s game, in which they used six relievers, allowed just one hit over 2 1/3 innings with four strikeouts.
“It was a tough pill to swallow last night,” said Roark. “It builds character and makes us better in the long run. Sometimes you need those games to keep you in check. You have to go out there everyday and put up runs and put up zeros."