Giants don't even think about it, just keep building winning streak


CINCINNATI -- Psst. Don't tell the San Francisco Giants what kind of a tear they're on.

They don't want to hear anything about their 11 straight wins, their longest streak since 1966. They don't want to think about the fearsome numbers their offense is putting on the board.

They didn't even want to give much reflection to an 8-1 victory Thursday night over the struggling Cincinnati Reds that left the defending World Series champions dazed.

"We've just been going with the flow," said Will Clark, who homered and had three hits as part of a 17-hit attack. "You don't think too much. You just see it and whack it. You don't want to out-think yourself."

Rookie Paul McClellan (2-0) pitched a seven-hitter for his first major league complete game. Clark and Willie McGee each had three hits. Kevin Mitchell outdid them with four, including a three-run homer.

And the Giants, a team mired at the bottom of the National League West earlier this season, suddenly are just a half-game behind the third-place Reds. Cincinnati trails first-place Los Angeles by 8 1/2 games.

The Reds keep going badly. The loss was their 16th in 21 games, ending a two-game winning "streak" that was their longest since July 5. Kip Gross (4-2), one of the young pitchers counted on to carry them through a month of pitching injuries, got rocked for five runs and 12 hits in just 4 1/3 innings.

He figured only a perfect pitcher could have stopped the Giants on Thursday.

"On some of them I made good pitches. On others I didn't, and they took advantage and hit it," said Gross, who had won his last two starts. "When I missed, they hit it."

They've been doing that throughout the streak. The "Big Three" of Clark, Mitchell and Matt Williams finally have come together like everyone expected.

Clark is 10-for-25 (.400) with three homers in his last seven games; Mitchell 14-for-32 (.438) with four homers in his last eight games; Williams 24-for-65 (.369) with nine homers in his last 17 games. And now McGee is off the disabled list and hitting.

"We're starting to swing the bats like I thought we were going to swing when we came out of spring training," manager Roger Craig said.

Clark started it in the first inning Thursday with a homer, his 20th. He and McGee had RBI singles in the second, Kirt Manwaring doubled home a run in the third, and Jose Uribe doubled in another in the fourth.

Mitchell capped it with a three-run homer in the eighth off Tim Layana, his 20th. The ball landed high on the left field foul screen -- the type of drive Mitchell is accustomed to hitting.

Mitchell thinks he's just now getting back to normal after being sidelined from June 4-23 by arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

"Right now I'm just trying to find myself," he said. "The more I go up there, the better I feel."

McClellan shut down an offense that was feeling pretty good about itself. The Reds had hit .336 in their last seven games, averaging better than 13 hits a game. But McClellan shut them out until the ninth, when Paul O'Neill hit his career-high 18th homer.

McClellan has allowed just one run in his two starts since a July 23 promotion from Triple-A Phoenix. He's come a long way after starting the year with Double-A Shreveport.

"The way I was throwing in AAA and AA, I thought it shouldn't be any different," he said. "I've kept my composure. It's not like last year, when I'd explode at little things."

He was 0-1 in one start and three relief appearances with an 11.74 earned run average last year with San Francisco. Craig liked the way McClellan threw his split-finger fastball for strikes, easily handling the Reds in his first start against them.

"He comes at you. This club had never seen him before, and he had never seen them," Craig said. "He had the advantage today."

He also had the advantage of the Giants' overwhelming offense.

"When they get it going, it doesn't matter who's pitching," Reds second baseman Bill Doran said. "We ran into a buzz saw."

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad