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Giants Looking To Keep Momentum Going Against Reds

(Sports Network) - The Cincinnati Reds may be the National League's highest scoring team this season, but theSan Francisco Giants have been the ones swinging the powerful bats during this three-game series between the two postseason contenders.

One day after amassing a season-high run total, the revitalized Giants set their sights on a sweep of the National League Central-leading Reds in this afternoon's showdown at AT&T Park.

San Francisco pounded Cincinnati pitching for 17 hits in an 11-2 rout on Monday, then created even more damage in last night's middle test of this series. The Giants collected a total of 18 hits and swatted four homers en route to a 16-5 victory that moved the team into a virtual tie with Philadelphia for the lead in the NL Wild Card standings.

Pablo Sandoval and Andres Torres each had three hits and four RBI in Tuesday's shellacking, with Sandoval accounting for one of San Francisco's four long balls on the night. Freddy Sanchez also went deep as part of a 4-for-4 performance in which the second baseman scored four runs.

Sanchez also had four hits in Monday's game and has raised his season average from .261 to .278 with his output in this series.

"Right now he looks comfortable up there," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Sanchez. "He's got his timing and getting some good swings off. When good hitters get into a groove, they're going to get their base hits."

San Francisco also received a three-run homer from Buster Posey and a two-run blast off the bat of Juan Uribein the win, the club's fourth in six games. The contest marked the first time the Giants have totaled 11 runs or more in back-to-back home tilts since September 2-3, 1973.

Cincinnati was able to flex its muscles at the plate as well, with Brandon Phillips belting two solo homers while going 3-for-5 and Scott Rolen delivering a two-run shot in a losing cause. All three round-trippers came against San Francisco starter Jonathan Sanchez, who failed to pitch the required five innings to gain the decision.

Santiago Casilla (5-2) was credited with the win after holding the Reds scoreless in the sixth and seventh innings. Sanchez was removed after only 4 1/3 frames and surrendered five runs on six hits while walking three.

Rookies Travis Wood and Mike Leake each had forgettable nights for Cincinnati, with Wood rocked for seven runs and seven hits over the first four innings and Leake permitting six runs and six hits -- including homers to Uribe and Posey -- while recording only a single out in the fifth.

"We just got beat up the last couple of days," Reds manager Dusty Baker said afterwards. "It makes for long nights."

Despite the two lopsided defeats, Cincinnati remained 2 1/2 games in front of St. Louis for the Central's top spot after the Cardinals lost to lowly Pittsburgh last night. The Reds have also gone a respectable 5-3 so far on a nine-game road trip that ends this afternoon.

Baker will ask Homer Bailey to try to cool off San Francisco's red-hot offense in the finale. The former phenom may be up to the task, if his two starts following a lengthy stint on the disabled list are any indication.

After missing close to three months due to a sore shoulder, Bailey returned to fire six shutout innings in a 2-0 home win over Florida on August 15. The right-hander backed that up by yielding just one run and four hits over seven sharp frames to defeat the Dodgers Friday in Los Angeles.

Bailey is 1-0 in three career meetings with San Francisco, but was hit hard in a pair of clashes with the Giants last season. In those two games, the 24- year-old was tagged for 10 runs and 16 hits over 11 2/3 innings of work.

The Giants will counter with a talented young hurler of their own in top prospect Madison Bumgarner, with the rookie entering today's assignment off a big victory on the road over playoff-hopeful St. Louis last Friday.

Bumgarner limited the Cardinals to two runs over seven-plus innings to improve to 5-4 in 11 starts since being promoted from Triple-A Fresno in late June. The 21-year-old has posted a 3.20 ERA as well following the promotion and allowed two runs or less in six of his past nine appearances.

The left-hander, who will be taking on the Reds for the first time, is still in search of his first career win at AT&T Park, however. Bumgarner has pitched four times at home so far this year and gone 0-2 with a 4.21 ERA over the course of those games.

These teams have split the past eight meetings between one another held in San Francisco, as well as a four-game series in Cincinnati back in June.