Giants beat Reds 5-3 for fourth straight win
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Brandon Belt's hitting is helping keep the Giants afloat in the playoff race.
The veteran first baseman's glove work is proving critical, too.
Belt tripled and drove in two runs and made a sparkling defensive play to throw a runner out at home in the fifth inning, and San Francisco beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 on Monday night.
Matt Duffy doubled twice and drove in two runs and Marlon Byrd added an RBI double to help San Francisco win its fourth straight and 20th in 25 games at AT&T Park after struggling at home earlier in the season.
''It runs in cycles,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ''This is more the club that we are, the way we're playing at home.''
Belt has been a big factor. He had an RBI triple in the third and added a sacrifice fly in the ninth, extending his hitting streak to six games.
Belt also made a pivotal play with the bases loaded in the fifth when he fielded Jay Bruce's sharp grounder down the first base line and made a perfect throw home to get a sliding Ramon Cabrera.
''When we had a visit on the mound, (catcher Buster Posey) asked me, `Are you just going to go two unless you get a slow-hopper?''' Belt said. ''I said, `Well if it's to my backhand I'm probably going to come home with it.' That's what happened.''
The defending World Series champs remained 7 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West with 18 games remaining - including four against the Dodgers.
George Kontos (3-2) retired four batters for the win after Tim Hudson failed in his bid for the 222nd victory of his career.
Hudson gave up one run and three hits in 4 1-3 innings but walked three and left with the bases loaded in the fifth after pain flared up in his hip.
''I was hoping to get him through the fifth,'' Bochy said. ''(Hudson's hip) was barking pretty good. He said he felt it in the second inning.''
Jay Bruce homered, Ramon Cabrera had four hits and Joey Votto added a bases-loaded walk for Cincinnati. Votto has reached base safely in 33 consecutive games, the third-longest active streak in the majors.
''We fell behind early but we did a good job of battling back,'' Reds manager Bryan Price said. ''But (we) didn't do enough to keep the game going.''
Duffy hit a two-run double off Cincinnati starter Keyvius Sampson (2-5) in the first inning then doubled and scored on Belt's two-out triple in the third.
Byrd followed with the Giants fourth extra base hit to extend the lead to 4-0.
Bruce hit his 21st home run in the seventh off reliever Josh Osich to pull Cincinnati to 4-3.
The Giants added an insurance run in the eighth on Belt's sacrifice fly.
Santiago Casilla pitched the ninth for his 33rd save.
Sampson lasted just three innings and allowed four runs on five hits. The Reds' rookie is winless since Aug. 13.
Reds: Billy Hamilton left the game in the fifth inning with a sore shoulder. Hamilton just came off the DL on Sept. 8 after missing 21 games with a right shoulder injury.
Giants: 2B Joe Panik had an MRI on his back and Bochy said it's unlikely Panik will play again this season. ... SS Brandon Crawford (calf, side) took grounders before the game but there is still no timetable for his return. ... OF Hunter Pence (strained left oblique) took dry swings but has yet to face pitching. Like Panik, Pence could possibly be shut down for the remainder of the season.
Reds: LHP John Lamb (1-3) earned his first major league victory in his previous start and will try to make it two in a row when he faces San Francisco for the first time.
Giants: RHP Chris Heston (11-10) is winless in his previous seven starts and has a 5.08 ERA during that span.