Reds lose ground as Giants continue their march

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- It took well into the season's second half
for the San Francisco Giants to start playing with the sense of
urgency manager Felipe Alou has been looking for all year.

The Giants aren't even thinking
about the consolation prize of the NL wild card considering the
West is still anybody's division to win, while the Reds are trying to hang around in the Central.

Shea Hillenbrand homered for the second straight game for No.
100 in his career and Noah Lowry won back-to-back starts for the
first time all season, leading the Giants past the Cincinnati Reds
4-1 Saturday for their 10th victory in 13 games.

"I see the guys understanding that we don't have time or room
to make mistakes," Alou said. "We can't afford to beat ourselves.
They know that. The time left is not that big. The shot is

Hillenbrand hit a two-run shot in the seventh inning for San
Francisco, which began the day 3 games behind NL West-leading Los
Angeles and pulled within three games of the Reds in the wild-card

David Ross hit his 18th home run in the sixth, snapping a
stretch of 16 1/3 scoreless innings by San Francisco starters.

The Reds lost their second in a row three games into a
season-long 10-game, 11-day road trip. Cincinnati trails
first-place St. Louis by two games in the NL Central.

"It's not going to be easy," Reds manager Jerry Narron said.
"We just have to come out of it, and we will."

Hillenbrand connected for his fifth homer since being traded
from Toronto to the Giants on July 21. His 17th homer overall
chased Reds starter Bronson Arroyo (10-9).

"He's starting to pay big dividends," Alou said.

Pedro Feliz hit an RBI double in the fourth to break a scoreless
tie and Randy Winn later ran around the bases on a crazy play for
another run.

Winn doubled to start the fifth and wound up scoring when center
fielder Ken Griffey Jr. made a wild throw that deflected off second
baseman Brandon Phillips' glove and caromed down the far dugout
stairs for a two-base error.

Lowry (7-7) looked strong again after coming off a career-best
two-hit shutout Monday night against Arizona that ended a
five-start winless stretch. He gave up six hits, struck out three
and walked three in eight innings while fighting a cold. He hopes
his last two outings will carry him into the final month.

"This team never gives up, never quits," Lowry said.
"Hopefully we can string a couple of wins together. It's crunch

Mike Stanton pitched the ninth, rather than regular closer
Armando Benitez because of an inflamed elbow and head cold, and
finished for his third save in five chances.

Stanton and some of his fellow veterans recently told the
youngsters in the clubhouse not to panic because there was still
lots of baseball left -- even if things seemed awfully bleak when
San Francisco fell 7 games back at Los Angeles on Aug. 13 with a
fifth straight loss.

"We're in a good situation right now," Stanton said.

Arroyo didn't allow a hit until Ray Durham's one-out single in
the fourth, and Feliz lined a double three batters later to get the
Giants on the board.

Hillenbrand, who hit a go-ahead solo homer in Friday night's 4-1
win, had an 11-pitch at-bat against Arroyo with two outs in the
first before striking out swinging.

Arroyo, 0-3 in four career appearances against the Giants,
allowed eight hits and four runs, struck out six and walked four.

Griffey extended his season-best hitting streak to 11 games with
a two-out single in the seventh.

Barry Bonds got the day off after playing the previous night,
his eighth straight game. Mark Sweeney started in left field and
went 0-for-4.

Game notes
The 42-year-old Bonds needs one more walk for his 13th
straight season with at least 100 walks, which will tie Babe Ruth
for most in major league history. ... Reds closer Eddie Guardado,
on the DL with tendinitis in his left forearm, played catch to test
the injury and still felt some pain in the area. ... Former Giants
1B J.T. Snow was in the stands and received a rousing ovation when
shown on the big screen in the middle of the second. ... The game
drew 41,362 fans for San Francisco's 20th sellout.