Left-hander Madison Bumgarner got his career-high sixth straight win, and San Francisco beat the Reds 6-1 on Thursday afternoon, taking a series in Cincinnati for the first time in five years.
San Francisco moved a season-high 18 games over .500 with its 11th win in 14 games. The Giants have the best record in the majors at 39-21.
After making four errors in the series opener and falling 8-3, the Giants were reminded that they’ve had a tough time in Great American Ball Park the last couple of years. They won the next two games and moved on with smiles for a change.
“It’s been a tough park for us,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Gosh, between our defense and our pitching, we hadn’t had a lot of success here. Of course we did bounce back at a critical time in 2012 (playoffs), but I know we’ve had some of our worst baseball here.
“So it was good, particularly after losing the first game the way we did, to bounce back and play the type of ball we did the next two days.”
Cincinnati has been one of their most dreaded stops.
The Giants won a series in Cincinnati for the first time since August 18-20, 2009. They’ve dropped 11 of their last 14 in Cincinnati during the regular season. The one bright moment was their division series win in Cincinnati in 2012, the starting point for their World Series title.
Bumgarner (8-3) gave up three hits in eight innings, including Todd Frazier’s homer, and retired the last 16 batters he faced. He’s 6-0 in his last seven starts, the best such streak of his career.
Michael Morse hit a two-run homer, and Brandon Crawford broke out of a slump with a three-run shot off Mike Leake (3-5), who had overwhelmed the Giants the last four times he faced them.
Bumgarner was the NL’s Pitcher of the Month in May and carried it into June with another stingy performance on the road. Bumgarner has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his last 20 road starts, a franchise record.
The Reds came out swinging and got two of their three hits in the first inning. Once Bumgarner saw what was happening, he changed his approach early in the count and got them hitting the ball on the ground.
“They came out aggressive,” said Bumgarner, who retired 23 of the last 24 he faced. “After that first inning, when they came out swinging, I made some adjustments and the defense was phenomenal. They made a lot of good plays.
“Today was the best you can hope for, really. I got a lot of quick outs and got the team back in the dugout.”
George Kontos retired the side in the ninth as the final 19 Reds went in order. Cincinnati didn’t have a base runner after Frazier singled with two outs in the third inning.
They won the series by finally getting to Leake, who was 4-0 in his last four starts against the Giants while allowing only three earned runs. Leake lasted only five innings and gave up eight hits, a walk and five runs.
Morse homered for the second straight game, connecting for his team-high 13th homer in the second inning. That ended Leake’s streak of six straights without giving up a homer.
Crawford’s seventh homer in the fourth inning was his first since May 21. The shortstop was in a 4 for 32 slump.
Pablo Sandoval singled three times and scored a pair of runs, improving to 11 for 17 career against Leake with two homers. Hunter Pence extended his hitting streak to six games.
Frazier hit his team-high 12th homer in the first inning, his second homer in two games. He’s got a six-game hitting streak that includes three homers.
NOTES: The Giants open a 10-game homestand against the Mets, Nationals and Rockies on Friday. Matt Cain (1-3) will be activated off the DL to face Jonathon Niese (3-3). ... The Reds continue their 10-game homestand against the Phillies, with Johnny Cueto (5-4) going against LHP Cole Hamels (1-3). ... Reds manager Bryan Price won a challenge in the third. Umpire Larry Vanover decided that Brayan Pena pulled his foot off first base while reaching for a throw, leaving Buster Posey safe. The call was overturned on review. ... The Reds are undecided on whether RHP Mat Latos, who left a rehab start on Wednesday night after 67 pitches because of a calf cramp, will need to make one more start in the minors before he’s activated.