Reds close in on Cardinals, extend lead on Padres

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Cincinnati Reds began a crucial stretch
against the teams chasing them in the NL wild-card race with quite
the comeback victory.

They scored their final four runs with two outs.

David Ross' solo homer broke a tie in the eighth and the Reds
rallied from a three-run deficit to beat the San Francisco Giants
6-3 on Thursday night.

Ross connected against Vinnie Chulk (0-2) with a drive to left
for the Reds, who began a season-long 10-game road trip against
contending NL West teams by pulling within .0004 of first-place St.
Louis in the NL Central (.5238 to .5234).

"A big win," Ross said. "When there are so many teams in it,
it's nice to gain ground on anybody. What everybody's worrying
about in here is taking care of ourselves at this point."

Ryan Franklin (5-6) got the final out in the seventh for the win
as Cincinnati gained a half-game on idle San Diego for a 1½-game
edge in the wild-card race. David Weathers pitched the ninth for
his 10th save in 16 chances.

Edwin Encarnacion drove in two runs for the Reds on a cold
August evening at San Francisco's waterfront ballpark, where the
first-pitch temperature was 58 degrees. Juan Castro hit a two-run
single in the ninth off Mike Stanton for the Reds' final runs.

"The big thing for us is every game is huge from here on out,"
Weathers said. "Every time we have a chance to get a win, we have
to jump on it."

Pedro Feliz hit a two-run homer and Randy Winn added a solo
shot, but the Giants didn't score a run after the second inning.

San Francisco had won eight of 10 to get back in the playoff
chase after the Giants seemed out of it following their fifth
straight loss Aug. 13 at Los Angeles to fall 7½ games behind in the
NL West race. The Giants now trail division-leading Los Angeles by
4½ games, and the Giants are five games back in the wild-card

Trailing 3-0, Encarnacion singled in a run to get the Reds on
the board in the sixth. The ball bounced slightly in front of
second and over the bag and rolled under lunging second baseman Ray

"That was a big play," Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "I
still don't know what happened with the ball that went over the bag
and into the outfield. ... That game was lost. You know what I
mean? Lost. Not l-o-s-s. It was lost, l-o-s-t."

Ken Griffey Jr. scored from third on a passed ball moments after
Encarnacion's hit.

Encarnacion doubled in the tying run in the seventh.

Brad Hennessey had a better showing than his previous
performance, when the right-hander didn't make it out of the second
inning in the shortest outing of his career Saturday against the

Durham extended his season-best and team-high hitting streak to
14 games with a leadoff double in the second, then Feliz followed
with a drive to left on a 2-2 pitch from Eric Milton for his 21st
home run of the season.

Winn hit Milton's second pitch of the game over the left-field
wall for his 10th home run and second leadoff homer of the year.

Barry Bonds went 0-for-3 with a walk in his 2,834th career game,
tying him with Al Kaline for 14th on the all-time list.

Bonds, who hit his 725th career homer Monday night against
Arizona and had produced back-to-back multihit games for the first
time in two years, and Griffey have a combined 1,286 home runs --
the second most by two players in the same game behind Hank Aaron
and Willie Mays (1,355) when the Mets played at the Atlanta Braves
on July 17, 1973.

Bonds flied out to Griffey in center field to end the first
inning, then Griffey hit a fly ball to Bonds in left in the

Game notes
Bonds is second on the career homers list behind Aaron's
record 755, while Griffey's 561 homers are good for 11th place. ...
Reds SS Aurilia visited with fans and enjoyed another return to the
city where he played the first nine years of his career before
leaving after the '03 season. ... Kevin Correia pitched on his 26th
birthday. ... A rally rabbi was on hand for the stadium's Jewish
Heritage Night. ... Winn has 11 career leadoff homers and six as a
member of the Giants, who he joined last summer in a trade from