CINCINNATI -- Drew Stubbs stayed focused, even after he struck out three times Thursday.
It paid off.
Stubbs drove a 2-0 pitch from Bob Howry (1-6) off left-field foul screen to stop Cincinnati's five-game skid. The 2006 first-round pick was called up from Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday when Willy Taveras was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
"I knew I got it good enough," Stubbs said. "The only question was fair or foul."
Manager Dusty Baker had the same concern.
"I saw it hooking, and I was saying, 'Please, stay fair,'" said Baker, whose team had lost six of seven and entered Thursday's game just 8-24 since the All-Star break. "You don't know how bad we needed it, and we got it."
Stubbs was 1-for-8 before the clutch homer, including three strikeouts in four at-bats against All-Star right-hander Matt Cain.
"You know you're going to fail 70 percent of the time in this game," said Stubbs, who hit .268 with three homers for Triple-A Louisville before joining the Reds. "I was able to keep a clear head."
Francisco Cordero (2-3) worked around a single in a scoreless 10th to pick up the win.
Cain pitched eight crisp innings for the Giants, who had won three straight and four of five. The All-Star right-hander allowed one run and eight hits but is winless in five starts since a 3-1 win at Colorado on July 24.
"It's good to get a series, but at this point, you want to get greedy, and we were so close to getting a sweep here," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
San Francisco fell two games behind NL wild card-leading Colorado, which beat Washington 4-1 to finish off a three-game sweep. The Giants and Rockies are scheduled to open a four-game series Friday in Denver.
Cain's one mistake came in the sixth, when Laynce Nix hit a one-out drive to center for his first homer in 33 at-bats since Aug. 2 against Colorado. Nix's 10th homer also snapped Cincinnati's 19-inning scoreless streak dating to Joey Votto's solo drive in the fifth inning of Tuesday's 8-5, 10-inning loss to the Giants.
"That's a game there that you know is going to be a low-scoring game," Cain said. "With a 1-0 lead, you have to try to keep that. With a 0-1 pitch to Nix, I threw a good pitch and he ended up taking a good swing and hitting it. Sometimes it comes down to that one pitch and taking advantage of it."
Aaron Harang pitched seven solid innings for the Reds, yielding one run and six hits. The right-hander is 1-10 with a 4.78 ERA in his last 16 starts.
The Giants loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, and Juan Uribe scored on a wild pitch.
"We had numerous opportunities and couldn't capitalize, and it came back to haunt us," Bochy said. "We created some great opportunities and let them slip away."
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips left after the top of the third inning with a sore left wrist. Phillips was hit by a pitch on that wrist last Saturday. ... The Reds placed right-hander Johnny Cueto on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Sunday, with inflammation in his right shoulder and activated right-hander Micah Owings. ... Cincinnati sent third baseman Scott Rolen to Triple-A Louisville on a rehab assignment. Rolen has been on the disabled list since Aug. 11 with a concussion from getting hit by a pitch on Aug. 2. ... Catcher Bengie Molina, who started 98 of San Francisco's first 120 games, got the day off.