Nick Senzel hit his first major league homer two innings after being robbed of one by center fielder Kevin Pillar, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the San Francisco Giants 9-2 Saturday night.
Pillar climbed the fence and made a spectacular grab on Senzel’s drive in the third, but Cincinnati’s top prospect left no doubt his next time up in the fifth. He followed Derek Dietrich’s third homer in two games with his own solo shot into the right field seats, one of five homers for the Reds. Dietrich and Yasiel Puig hoisted Senzel into the air after he touched home plate.
Eugenio Suarez hit a three-run drive, Puig added a no-doubter among his season-high three hits, and Tucker Barnhart also went deep, boosting Cincinnati’s count to eight over the last two games — a nice uptick for an offense that’s ranked among baseball’s worst this season.
Saturday’s outburst was more than enough for Tanner Roark, who set season highs with 6 2/3 innings pitched and seven strikeouts. That took pressure off a bullpen that allowed nine runs in six innings while the Reds squandered an 8-0 lead in a 12-11, 11-inning loss to the Giants on Friday. Cody Reed pitched the last 2 1/3 innings in his first appearance of the season.
Roark (2-1) allowed four hits, two runs and two walks while improving to 7-1 in nine career games against the Giants.
Dereck Rodriguez gave up four of Cincinnati’s homers on the way to his first loss in four road starts this season. Rodriguez (3-4) allowed eight hits and eight runs with four walks and one strikeout in five innings.
Pillar, whose diving catch on Friday in Senzel’s major league debut delayed the his first career hit, went to the fence in straightaway center field and, while in the air, stretched for a backhand stab before pulling his glove down a bit to make the circus catch with two outs.
Giants: 3B Evan Longoria was scratched from the lineup after developing overnight stiffness and inflammation in his left shoulder. Pablo Sandoval replaced Longoria in the lineup.
Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 3.53) faces the Reds on Sunday for the first in almost two full seasons since getting the decision in an 8-3 win on May 14, 2017.
Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (3-1, 1.45) makes his first start on Sunday since being named the NL Pitcher of the Month.