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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 10:50 pm

Reds come out swinging to pound Giants again

By JANIE McCAULEYAP Baseball Writer

Devin Mesoraco sure likes how the Cincinnati Reds are swinging early in the second half.

Mesoraco had a three-run homer among his three hits for his second longball in as many games, Joey Votto and Zack Cozart also connected, and the Reds pounded the San Francisco Giants for the second straight game with a 9-3 win Tuesday in the opener of a traditional doubleheader.

"We've got some hot bats," Mesoraco said. "Ride it out as long as you can. You want to go out there and put up as many runs as you can, especially early, and take a little pressure off the starting pitcher. That's what we were able to do the last two nights."

Cozart finished 4 for 4 with two RBIs and three runs to back Tony Cingrani (4-1). The left-hander was added to the roster as the Reds' permitted 26th player for the doubleheader. He headed back to the Arizona Rookie League after the game to fulfill the final five days required after being optioned previously to the minors. He is set to return and start Sunday for Cincinnati.

The Reds finished with 15 hits for 32 total in the first two games of the series.

"I go to Arizona tomorrow and I am starting Sunday," Cingrani said after his 118-pitch outing in which he also singled in a run for his first career RBI at any level of pro ball.

The Reds knocked Eric Surkamp (0-1) out after 2 2-3 innings in his first start since late September 2011 after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery.

"I still have a lot of work to do coming back," Surkamp said. "I feel like I'm close. I feel a little herky-jerky throwing pitches."

Cincinnati batted last as the visiting team while wearing home uniforms in the nightcap, a makeup for a July 4 rainout at Great American Ball Park.

Pizza and sushi were delivered to the Reds clubhouse between games.

Cincinnati called up former Stanford right-hander Greg Reynolds, a native of nearby Pacifica, from Triple-A Louisville to start the second game against Barry Zito. It is Reynolds' first big league outing since a start Sept. 25, 2011, for Colorado.

Much like Monday night to support Bronson Arroyo's seven-hitter, Cincinnati came out swinging. A day after the Reds roughed up Tim Lincecum in an 11-0, 17-hit rout, they quickly took charge with a four-run second. After Brandon Phillips flied out, Cincinnati got four straight hits starting with Jay Bruce's double. Cozart hit an RBI single two batters later before Mesoraco's three-run drive to left-center.

He is 6 for 9 with two homers, five RBIs and three runs so far in the series, but the catcher didn't start Game 2.

"Coming off the All-Star break with those three days off, you're able to physically get better, mentally take a little break," Mesoraco said. "For me it's just being able to go out there and relax and be in a good position to hit. I've felt good with my swing here lately and I think it's starting to show."

Votto led off the third with his 16th homer and Cozart added a solo shot in the fifth.

Cingrani gave up five hits and two runs in 6 2-3 innings with two strikeouts and three walks. He allowed two or fewer runs for the ninth time in 11 starts this year.

Surkamp, who is from Cincinnati, was tagged for seven runs and eight hits. Manager Bruce Bochy then turned to Yusmeiro Petit, who arrived shortly before game time. He struck out seven in 5 1-3 innings of relief.

"It was awesome to be back out there. Surprisingly, I really wasn't that nervous," Surkamp said. "The last year's been a long year for me so it was exciting to get back out there. I was just leaving balls over the middle of the plate. In the first inning I was pretty much on the corners. In the second and third, just leaving pitches up over the middle of the plate and they were hitting them."

The Reds' bottom four hitters, including the pitcher's spot, accounted for 10 of the team's hits.

Cincinnati has won all five meetings with the reigning World Series champions after allowing San Francisco to rally from an 0-2 deficit to win the NL division series matchup last October. The Reds have outscored the Giants 34-6 this season.

Notes: Shin-Soo Choo had his career-best hitting streak for the Reds snapped at 16 games. ... Cincinnati played its first traditional doubleheader since Aug. 24, 2011, at the Marlins. ... The Giants designated for assignment RHP Hunter Strickland to clear room on the 40-man roster for Petit, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Fresno. San Francisco optioned RHP George Kontos to Fresno a day after he threw a career-high 63 pitches in 3 1-3 innings. ... San Francisco will visit President Obama in the White House on Monday to celebrate the franchise's World Series championship from last fall.