CINCINNATI (AP) — Scott Rolen joked that his first homer since July 6 was a career saver. It's no exaggeration to call it a game saver.
Rolen led off the seventh inning with a homer that ended Barry Zito's shutout, and the Cincinnati Reds rallied for a 4-2 victory Wednesday night, extending the San Francisco Giants' misery at Great American Ball Park.
The 37-year-old third baseman was batting .169 when he homered on a full-count pitch, ending a power drought brought on by his shoulder injury that needed surgery last season. Finally, Rolen — in the last year of his contract — could round the bases.
"(Shortstop Zack) Cozart was saying that it's a career saver," Rolen said. "That's kind of been the joke here. That's what happens when you get one hit every two weeks."
A career saver?
"Well, it wasn't quite that," manager Dusty Baker said. "When you're not swinging the bat well, life's miserable. He's hit some balls hard."
The Giants couldn't stop the Reds after Rolen's breakthrough homer, setting up another rough game at Great American. San Francisco has dropped seven straight and 12 of 16 at the ballpark. Zito remains winless there in six starts.
"I just didn't make that pitch to Rolen," Zito said. "That changed the whole inning. It shows you how quick this game can spiral."
Clay Hensley (1-2) threw wildly for an error after slipping as he fielded a bunt. Jeremy Affeldt's wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run to score.
Jose Arredondo (2-0) had one perfect inning. Sean Marshall pitched the ninth and remained perfect in four save chances.
The Reds have won five of their last six overall.
Before the game, the Giants put Aubrey Huff on the 15-day disabled list while he gets treatment for an anxiety attack. Huff left the team after having a tough time in a game on Saturday. He could rejoin the team in San Francisco next weekend.
Pablo Sandoval singled in the third inning, giving him a hit in each of the first 18 games. That matches Johnny Rucker's mark with the 1945 New York Giants for best season-opening streak in franchise history.
Neither team did much through the first six innings, when a steady rain forced the grounds crew to spread bags of drying material around the infield at each changeover.