Reds blow big lead, then rally to slip past Giants, 12-11

Published 3:35 am Thursday, August 26, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO — For the Cincinnati Reds, blowing a 10-1 lead didn’t mean losing the game.

Only hours after Atlanta squandered that exact same advantage and fell to Colorado, the Reds wound up with a win — barely.

Saved by Paul Janish’s tying single in the ninth inning, the Reds regrouped and rallied past the San Francisco Giants 12-11 Wednesday on Joey Votto’s two-out, tiebreaking single in the 12th.

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Votto homered twice, and finished with four hits and four RBIs as the NL Central leaders avoided a sweep.

“We had such a comfortable lead for most of the game,” Votto said. “For them to come back like that, it could have been difficult to recover. Momentum plays a big role in a game like this. We just showed some resiliency to come back ourselves.”

Votto hit a pair of home runs and Jonny Gomes hit his 100th career shot that gave the Reds their huge lead going into the bottom of the fifth. The Giants came back and Aubrey Huff’s sacrifice fly capped a six-run burst in the eighth that put them ahead 11-10.

A two-base throwing error by third baseman Pablo Sandoval on Drew Stubbs’ one-out grounder in the Reds ninth set up Janish’s single.

Miguel Cairo doubled and scored on Votto’s two-out single in the 12th off Barry Zito (8-9), making his second career relief appearance.

“For us to play as well as we did and to still be able to come back and win sure means a lot to all of us,” Votto said. “Zito is difficult to face because he knows exactly what he wants to do. I’m just trying to put the ball in play and I end up finding a hole.”

Ryan Hanigan and Stubbs also homered for Cincinnati. The Reds homered three times in the first inning, and the slugfest put an exclamation mark on the highest-scoring three-game series at AT&T Park.

“That was a heavyweight fight out there,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Votto, that’s what MVPs and All-Stars do. They come through when you need them.”

The Giants scored at least 11 runs in three straight games for the first time since June 1953. The Reds’ rally spoiled what would’ve been the biggest comeback in franchise history.

The NL East-leading Braves weren’t so fortunate in their 12-10 loss at Coors Field. The major league record for the biggest comeback is 12 runs, most recently by Cleveland against Seattle in 2001. The NL mark is 11, last done by Houston against St. Louis in 1994.

Francisco Cordero (4-4) pitched the final two innings.

“It just feels terrible to let the team down in a situation where we come back from 10-1,” Zito said. “It could have been a huge sweep for us. It’s frustrating as ever but they hit the pitches I was making.”

Juan Uribe’s three-run homer in the eighth sparked the Giants’ late rally as the first six hitters reached base. Jose Guillen and Sandoval singled ahead of Uribe’s shot. Cody Ross and Mike Fontenot singled ahead of Andres Torres’ two-run double. Torres later scored on Huff’s medium fly.

“We just kept chipping away, had a big eighth and unfortunately it wasn’t enough,” Ross said. “You want to win these games and at the same time we showed a lot of resiliency.”

Reds starter Homer Bailey lasted 5 1-3 innings and was in line for his third straight start since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 15.

Giants rookie Madison Bumgarner had his worst outing in the majors, allowing eight runs in 2 2-3 innings.

The Reds hit three home runs in the first inning, taking a 4-0 lead. Votto hit a two-run shot, while Gomes and Hanigan went back-to-back. The Reds hit consecutive homers for the eighth time this season and the second time in a week.

“You can call this a 25-man roster win,” Gomes said. “We used just about everybody. It’s fortunate we have a day off.”

NOTES: Reds 2B Brandon Phillips left the game an inning after getting hit by a pitch from Santiago Casilla in the fifth. … Former Giants closer Robb Nen was a visitor to the Reds’ clubhouse before the game and was greeted enthusiastically at the door by Darren Baker, Dusty’s 11-year-old son. … Sanchez finished 9 for 11 in the series. … Sandoval recorded three hits for the 10th time, all at home. … Zito pitched a scoreless inning of relief on Aug. 5, 2007.