03/31/12 9:08 PM ET
Francis, Reds bats shine in win vs. Giants
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
The veteran left-hander was charged with two runs on three hits for the victory. It was a far cry from his last start when he allowed 11 runs on 11 hits in three innings against the Rangers.
"It was better," Francis said. "I think we had some better pitch selections earlier on. It got me into a better groove. I certainly want to go deep in a game like that. It's a sign that I am ready for the season to start."
Whether his latest outing was enough to earn Francis a spot somewhere on the club's pitching staff is to be determined. What is certain is that Francis had plenty of help from his offense Saturday.
Scoreless after two innings, the Reds scored four runs in the third inning off Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt. Brandon Phillips, Paul Janish and Scott Rolen all recorded one RBI in the eventful inning. Phillips scored his team's second run on a wild pitch.
The Reds tacked on two more runs in the fifth on Rolen's second RBI of the game and a run-scoring double by Jay Bruce to extend the lead to 6-0. The Reds scored four more runs in the seventh.
"They swung the bats really well, but our heads were somewhere else," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Their guy pitched well."
Giants reliever Guillermo Mota started the game and did not allow a hit in two scoreless innings. He walked one batter and struck out two before passing the ball to Affeldt.
Affeldt was charged with four runs (two earned) on five hits in his inning pitched before yielding to Mitch Lively.
San Francisco infielder Joaquin Arias hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Up next for Reds: The Reds will host the White Sox on Sunday at Goodyear Ballpark. For starter Mat Latos, it will be a good test of the left calf that he strained in his previous start. It limited Latos to 4 2/3 innings of a planned six against the Cubs. The right-hander had a bullpen session Friday that went well. Also pitching for Cincinnati will be Logan Ondrusek and Sean Gallagher. Jake Peavy will start for the White Sox.
Up next for Giants: Tim Lincecum will take the hill against Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers on Sunday in Maryvale in his final tuneup before the start of the regular season. Lincecum has expressed some frustration with his fastball command lately but said he will be ready to take on the D-backs on Opening Day at Chase Field on Friday.