Reds ride offensive explosion, Volquez to victory over Giants

CINCINNATI -- The second number in Barry Zito's record keeps getting unbelievably bigger.

Edwin Encarnacion hit his second career grand slam off Zito, and Chris Dickerson homered and drove in four runs Friday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to an 11-7 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

The Reds' best offensive showing since they traded Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn helped All-Star right-hander Edinson Volquez (16-5) get another milestone win, while Zito (8-16) hit yet another low point.

"Just some weird stuff went on," the left-hander said.

Some bad stuff, too.

The game was a reference point for Zito, having by far the worst season of his career. He was sent to the bullpen for a week after the Reds roughed him up for eight runs in only three innings on April 27, leaving him 0-6 in six starts at that point.

The 2002 AL Cy Young winner bottomed out at 0-8 before finally winning a game. His pitching has improved since then, but he's still leading the majors in losses.

"He was more polished," Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips said. "The last time, he left a lot of pitches up. Today, he threw more strikes. We just hit his mistakes when he made some."

Encarnacion hit a grand slam in the third inning off Zito, who tried to get him off-balance with a changeup.

"The first pitch to Encarnacion wasn't a bad pitch, a changeup that was kind of flat," Zito said. "It didn't have the finish."

The Reds scored four more in the fourth, when the Giants botched a rundown and Zito made an errant throw to first base on Volquez's sacrifice bunt to set up the rally.

Dickerson doubled home a pair of runs, and Zito hit Joey Votto with the bases loaded to force in another run and end his outing. The left-hander gave up eight runs -- seven earned -- in 3 1/3 innings, a line eerily similar to that first outing against Cincinnati.

"We self-destructed there with some sloppy play," manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's really what did us in tonight, the defense. We just made too many mistakes there, gave them too many outs."

Dickerson added a two-run homer off Billy Sadler that put the Reds in double-digits for the first time since July 10, when Griffey and Dunn homered in a 12-7 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Reds traded Griffey to the White Sox on July 31, and sent Dunn to Arizona on Aug. 11.

"We need all we can get right now," manager Dusty Baker said. "We needed this offense for our confidence. They helped us out with their defense."

Volquez has pulled out of a midseason slump, winning three of his last four starts. This one wasn't his best -- six runs in 5 1/3 innings -- but was good enough to help the Reds get only their ninth victory in their last 32 games.

No pitcher has won more games in his first season with the Reds since 1988, when left-hander Danny Jackson won 23.

Game notes
OF Fred Lewis was scratched from San Francisco's lineup because his right thigh was tight. He pinch-hit and field out. ... Rich Aurilia had the Giants' third pinch-hit homer of the season off Jeremy Affeldt. ... The Reds plan to call up RH Ramon Ramirez from Triple-A Louisville to make his major league debut against the Giants on Saturday. ... RH Johnny Cueto made 20 throws from flat ground before the game without pain. Cueto strained his right elbow during a game last Sunday against Colorado.