Giants face Reds club that 'stinks right now'

July 29, 2011, 5:51 pm
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July 29, 2011GIANTS (61-44) vs.CINCINNATI (44-57)

Coverage begins at 3:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Carlos Beltran was not much of a factor in his debut for the Giants, but his new team is glad to have the star outfielder on board.

Beltran looks for better results when the Giants try to hand the Cincinnati Reds a fifth consecutive loss Friday night at Great American Ball Park.

The six-time All-Star had his string of reaching base safely end at 32 games when he went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts during Thursday's 4-1 win at Philadelphia. Beltran did make a sliding catch to rob Jimmy Rollins of a hit.

Despite totaling eight runs in the three-game series, the Giants (61-44) won the final two against the MLB-leading Phillies.

"These guys have been there before, and everyone knows their role," Beltran said of his new team. "I'm just looking forward to jumping in and doing the best I can to help this team continue to win ballgames offensively and defensively."

San Francisco has won 13 of 18 and owns a four-game lead atop the NL West, and it may have sent a message to Philadelphia by acquiring Beltran from the Mets.

"When you're defending world champions, you do have to try to defend that title any way you can," general manager Brian Sabean said. "Hopefully we show we mean business."

Pablo Sandoval hit a solo homer and Tim Lincecum gave up three hits over six scoreless innings Thursday. With a major league-best 3.06 ERA, the Giants' pitchers may not need Beltran to put up gaudy offensive numbers.

Scheduled Friday starter Ryan Vogelsong (8-1, 2.10 ERA) is 5-0 in 10 starts since losing to Florida on May 26. The All-Star right-hander labored some but limited Milwaukee to two runs in five innings of a 4-2 win Saturday.

Vogelsong allowed two runs and struck out six in six innings but did not factor in the decision of a 3-2 win over the Reds on June 10.

While the Giants are riding high, Cincinnati (50-55) tries to regroup after it was outscored 30-19 while being swept in a four-game series at home by the Mets this week. The reigning NL Central champions are 8-15 in July and are fourth in the division, 6 12 games behind first-place Milwaukee.

"We stink right now," utility man Miguel Cairo said after Thursday's 10-9 loss. "We have to start playing like we know how. ... Everyone on this team has to do better than we are right now."

Reigning NL MVP Joey Votto has held his own by homering in each of the last three games and going 6 for 13 with five RBIs during that stretch. Votto, who has never homered in four straight contests, has batted .371 with two home runs and seven RBIs his last nine games versus San Francisco.

Veteran left-hander Dontrelle Willis (0-1, 3.71) tries to help the Reds get back on track after starting their most recent win. He allowed three runs over 6 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win over Atlanta on Sunday in his third start since being called up July 10.

Willis, who made five Triple-A appearances in the Giants organization last year, is 1-3 with a 5.00 ERA in eight career starts versus San Francisco -- the last coming with Florida in 2007.

Beltran, who went 1 for 6 with two RBIs and three walks in two games this week at Cincinnati for the Mets, is 9 for 31 (.290) with a homer versus Willis.

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