CINCINNATI — San Francisco's Barry Bonds hit a three-run homer and Orel Hershiser finished May with an unblemished record as the Giants defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 3-1, Monday afternoon.
Bonds' 12th homer in the third inning off of Pete Harnisch (4-1) put the Giants in line for their eighth victory in 12 games. At 29-22, San Francisco reached a season-high seven games over .500 for the second time.
Hershiser (4-3) gave up four hits in eight innings, struck out a season-high seven and pitched out of two jams as he finished an impressive month. The 39-year-old right-hander gave up only four earned runs in 36 innings (1.00 earned-run average) while getting four victories and a no-decision in May.
"Overall, this is exactly what the doctor ordered," said Hershiser (4-3), who won his fourth consecutive start. "Everybody came up to me after the game yesterday and said, 'You've got to go nine because the bullpen is shot.' "
The Giants' pitching staff was nearly on empty after the 17-inning, 9-6 win in St. Louis on Sunday. San Francisco arrived in Cincinnati shortly before midnight, then had to play 13 hours later.
"Usually I'm pretty streaky. I'll have hot streaks and cold ones. That's kind of my past, I guess," Hershiser said.
Robb Nen, who threw 2 2/3 innings and gave up a game-tying homer to Mark McGwire on Sunday, got the last three outs in only seven pitches for his 11th save in 12 chances.
Nothing is good these days for the Reds, who are last in the NL Central. Cincinnati lost for the eighth time in 10 games to fall to a season-low five games below .500 (23-28).
"Night after night, you can't keep doing two hits or four hits," Cincinnati Manager Jack McKeon said. "I know guys are trying, but nothing's going on."
The Reds, who sent only 28 batters to the plate on Sunday, failed to take advantage of two opportunities against Hershiser. Barry Larkin singled and took third on Eddie Taubensee's double with none out in the fourth, but Cincinnati scored only one run--on Dmitri Young's groundout.
Cincinnati also got a runner to third with one out in the sixth and failed to score.