By BEN ROSS Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Christian Encarnacion-Strand homered and drove in three runs in his first four-hit game in the majors, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1 on Wednesday to avoid a three-game sweep.
Encarnacion-Strand, a Bay Area native who played at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill, finished a triple shy of the cycle.
“It was awesome,” he said. “A ton of people here. It might’ve been my dad’s first time (seeing) me play today. And he was here, so that was awesome.”
Elly De La Cruz and Luke Maile each had two hits, and Hunter Greene outdueled Logan Webb in his first career start against San Francisco.
Greene (3-6) struck out six in 5 1/3 innings in his first win since June 17. The right-hander, who missed much of this season with a right hip injury, allowed an unearned run and three hits.
“Great start by Hunter,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Nice slider, got ahead, located his fastball well. Big step for Hunter.”
Greene felt ill after the game and left the clubhouse early.
“I didn’t hear of it till after the game,” Bell said. “We just got him out of our clubhouse and got him comfortable. We’ll know more soon.”
Fighting for an NL wild card, Cincinnati (69-66) stopped a three-game slide and improved to 10-17 in August.
Webb (9-11) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings. It was his 15th game that he was backed by one run or fewer from his offense.
“We really do want to score some runs for him,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We’ll get him ready for the next time out, try to score some more runs for him then. If he just continues to throw up a lot of zeros, I think he’ll get rewarded for it long-term.”
Casey Schmitt doubled twice and scored the Giants’ lone run.
Cincinnati broke a scoreless tie in the sixth on a double steal. With runners on first and third, Cruz swiped second and Spencer Steer sprinted home ahead of the return throw. Encarnacion-Strand followed with an RBI single.
The Giants answered with a run in the bottom half. With runners on first and third, Cincinnati reliever Ian Gibaut committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt to first, allowing Schmitt to score from third.
Encarnacion-Strand provided some insurance with a two-run homer in the eighth, his fifth of the year.
Alexis Díaz worked the ninth for his 35th save in 37 opportunities, tying San Francisco closer Camilo Doval for the NL lead.
Cincinnati’s TJ Friedl made a spectacular diving catch in the first inning to take a hit away from LaMonte Wade Jr. On Greene’s first pitch, Wade ripped a 107-mph line drive to center. Friedl sprinted to his left and laid out to make the catch just before the ball hit the ground.
Then, with two runners on in the sixth, Steer made a diving stop at second base on a 100-mph grounder by Patrick Bailey to maintain a 2-1 lead for Cincinnati.
Reds: OF Jake Fraley (stress fracture in left fourth toe) was scheduled to continue his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday night. “If all goes well today, there is a chance he’s active for Friday,” Bell said. … INF Matt McLain (right oblique strain) will see doctors and physical therapists at the team’s medical facility in Cincinnati on Thursday, with more information expected Friday. … 2B Jonathan India has begun running as he recovers from plantar fasciitis in his left foot. “Roughly a week of running and then see where he is,” Bell said of the next step.
Giants: OF Mike Yastrzemski (strained left hamstring) returned from the 10-day injured list and started in right field, going 0 for 2 with two walks. … RHP John Brebbia (right lat strain) was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday night.
The Giants optioned outfielder Luis Matos to Triple-A Sacramento.
Reds: Return home for a four-game series against the Cubs beginning Friday. RHP Graham Ashcraft (7-8, 4.73 ERA) will start the first game of a doubleheader opposite Chicago LHP Jordan Wicks (1-0, 1.80 ERA). Neither team had named a starter for the second game.
Giants: Open a four-game series at San Diego on Thursday, facing RHP Pedro Avila (0-1, 2.63 ERA). San Francisco hadn’t named a starter.