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Christian Encarnacion-Strand powers Reds past Giants

The Reds salvaged a game from their series by the Bay.

Cincinnati Reds v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Christian Encarnacion-Strand swatted a 2-run homer in the Top of the 8th to put the game between the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants on-ice on Wednesday, just a small part of his overall 4 for 4 day at the plate. It fueled the Reds to a 4-1 victory just a half-day after they were nearly no-hit by Alex Cobb while dropping their second straight game of the series, and Wednesday’s salvaged victory means they wrapped their 10-game western road trip at an even 5-5.

CES backed a resurgent Hunter Greene on the day, as the Reds righty exited after 5.1 IP having yet to allow a run. One came in to score immediately when an inherited runner scored on an errant pick-off throw by reliever Ian Gibaut, but that did nothing really to diminish Greene’s otherwise excellent work. His final line (5.1 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 6 K on 90 pitches) was much more emblematic of the ‘returning ace’ the Reds had hoped for once he came off the injured list, the 13 ER he allowed across his previous pair of starts hopefully an afterthought for good.

The win sets the stage for an off-day on Thursday before a 10-game homestand that will define their season. They’ll get their NL Central (and Wild Card) rival Chicago Cubs at home for 4 this weekend before welcoming the Seattle Mariners - and all the former Reds they’ve traded there - for a trio after that. Then, the St. Louis Cardinals will be in town looking to play spoiler in one of the very, very few seasons in which they’re completely out of it while the Reds are, theoretically, still in the mix. Given how poorly the Reds have played in their most recent homestands, they’ll need to completely flip the script to put themselves in position to push for one of the final Wild Card spots with just weeks remaining in the season.

Today’s 4-1 victory sets that stage, at least. Can’t say they’ve even been close to that position for quite sometime.