Winn sparks Giants, Correia to victory
Outfielder completes cycle as part of sixth-inning rally
CINCINNATI -- Though it was Randy Winn's cycle that kick-started much of the Giants' offense Monday night, his four hits were merely a microcosm of the team's night.OK, maybe they were a huge part of the team's night. But Winn wasn't alone in the victory. For the first time in a half-month, the offense came alive, helping the Giants to a 7-3 victory against the Reds in front of 17,777 at Great American Ball Park. "We didn't look very good, but a win's a win," manager Felipe Alou said afterward. Alou was referring mostly to starting pitcher Kevin Correia when he said the team didn't look good, but one thing is for sure, there was a sort of ugly air about the ballpark in the Giants' win. The club collected 12 hits total but stranded nine runners, including three in the first inning. It wasn't until Winn homered in the third that the Giants got on the board. Todd Linden followed an inning later with a solo home run of his own. Alou gave part of the credit for both those home runs to the ballpark, which leads the Majors in home runs allowed. "It's a very small ballpark," Alou said. "I think this ballpark is short. The ball Linden hit was a fly ball that, at SBC Park, we didn't know if it was a home run." But this is Great American Ball Park, and the ball left little doubt that it was going to become a souvenir when it left Linden's bat. After Linden's homer tied the game at 2, the Giants fell behind in the bottom half of the fourth before stringing together a couple of runs that finally put them ahead. In the fifth, Michael Tucker reached courtesy of an error and later scored when Linden knocked him in. Linden also scored in that inning, giving the Giants their first lead. Winn made sure the team held that lead. The newest member of the organization tripled to lead off the sixth and complete the cycle. He later scored when Omar Vizquel doubled, then two more runs followed when Vizquel and J.T. Snow crossed home. It was the first time since July 29 that the team scored seven runs. And it was Correia who was the beneficiary of the offense. Correia labored through much of the outing, but in the end, he got the job done. "Correia, he struggled," Alou said. "If we were three games out or tied, he wouldn't complete the fifth. But we're doing some things here to develop guys and give confidence to guys. He's a tough kid. He got that big out for his win." The fifth inning to which Alou referred included three walks by the right-hander. The out to which Alou referred was a pop fly from Austin Kearns to end the inning without a run scoring. Actually, with runners on base, Correia was great. It was when the bases were empty that the right-hander struggled. The only runs Correia did allow came in the form of solo home runs. Correia watched Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn blast back-to-back shots in the first inning, then saw Kearns hit a bases-empty homer in the fourth. "The ball flies out of here pretty good," Correia said. "I gave up three of them, so I definitely got a taste for the kind of field it is. "That was the big thing -- at least they were all solo. That's where I get in trouble, is if there's anyone on base and one of those guys hits one out. Then it looks a lot worse. So I just hung in there, and those guys scored some runs." Scored enough to help Correia to the win, anyway. Correia's numbers have looked pretty consistent since he joined the rotation earlier this month. In his last three starts, he's gone six, five and six innings and allowed two, three and three runs, respectively. But on this night, it was the offense that shined. And, yeah, the new guy did all right, too.
Kyle Jepson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.