Gaints topple Cincinnati, 6-1

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 5, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO - Edgardo Alfonzo stopped thinking, and it made all the difference in his hitting.

Alfonzo, who took over Barry Bonds' spot in the batting order, homered and drove in four runs to back Kirk Rueter as the San Francisco Giants beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-1 Sunday.

With Bonds given the day off, Alfonzo batted third and turned in a Bonds-like performance

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''I was thinking too much instead of going to the plate and relaxing,'' said Alfonzo, who went 2-for-5 to increase his average to .206 - the highest it's been since April 10. ''Things weren't going the way I wanted, but I had to be patient and keep working. It was a matter of keeping the faith.''

Rueter gave up one run and four hits in six innings, improving to 10-1 against Cincinnati. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter as the Giants kept up their best start in 30 years despite winning for just the third time in eight games.

''I can't explain it,'' Rueter said. ''I try to pitch the same way to everybody. Benito (Santiago) did a good job. I didn't shake him off too much and he kept mixing it up.''

Rich Aurilia, who missed three games recently with eye problems, matched a career high with four hits for San Francisco.

''My vision is fine right now, but I still can't wait to take the contacts off,'' said Aurilia. ''I saw the ball well Saturday, and I saw it even better today.''

Jose Guillen drove in the lone run for the Reds, who failed in their attempt to win four straight series for the first time in two years. Cincinnati lost for only the third time in 11 games.

Ryan Dempster (1-2), starting for the first time on three days' rest, allowed five runs, five hits and five walks in 5 1-3 innings. He lasted just 1 1-3 innings in his previous start, Wednesday at Colorado.

''It was nice to get back out there after what went on the last time,'' said Dempster, who walked six and allowed seven runs against the Rockies. ''I still wasn't as sharp but I made strides. I hurt myself with walks and that's the biggest thing going right now.''

Rueter (3-1) has allowed five runs in his last 25 1-3 innings and four starts against the Reds, a 1.78 ERA. His .909 winning percentage against them is his best against an NL opponent.

''Rueter is tough,'' Reds manager Bob Boone said. ''He rarely makes mistakes and he'll make you hit his pitch all the time. That really transcends all the movement and velocity; putting the ball where you want it.''

Felix Rodriguez pitched two scoreless innings and Tim Worrell worked the ninth to finish the six-hitter.

Alfonzo's three-run homer in the fifth put the Giants ahead 4-0. He added an RBI single in the seventh and finished 8-for-25 (.320) on the homestand.

''He's going to have a lot of games like that,'' Giants manager Felipe Alou said. ''He's to the point where I could bat him anywhere. He's swinging the bat well.''

Aurilia singled home a run in the first to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.

Rueter retired 15 of 18 hitters through the fifth inning. Felipe Lopez led off the sixth with a triple to the right-center gap. Guillen followed with a sacrifice fly, his fifth RBI in three games.

The Giants also scored in the sixth when pinch-hitter Neifi Perez hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded against Gabe White.

Notes: Bonds was given a day off after playing two games within 21 hours over the weekend. ''He's been dragging a little bit,'' Alou said. … Reds OF Adam Dunn was given the day off with a left-hander starting. … Rueter's only loss to the Reds came on April 25, 2001, in San Francisco. … Reds RHP Jimmy Haynes is to throw on the side Monday in St. Louis, followed by a possible rehabilitation assignment . … SS Lopez committed a throwing error in the first inning, giving the Reds a major league-leading 37 errors. … The Reds announced RHP John Reidling will start Monday at St. Louis.