It wasn’t a game that Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake will paste prominently in his scrapbook — at least not the pitching part.
Maybe it will be a keeper because of his batwork — he had three hits — but it wasn’t one of his better efforts on the mound.
He gave up a career-worst 12 hits in six-plus innings, usually a recipe for disaster. But when he left the game the Reds led, 8-1.
Leake’s train-wreck night didn’t matter. Once again the Cincinnati Reds unsheathed some heavy lumber against the San Francisco Giants to score an 8-3 victory Wednesday night.
It enabled them to take three of four from the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
And the Reds have to be wondering if they’ll ever scramble out of third place in the National League Central.
They win three of four in San Francisco and they didn’t gain a single inch of real estate. Both the Cardinals and Pirates won — again — so the Reds leave San Francisco exactly where they were when they arrived — five games behind the first-place Cardinals. And they are 3 ½ behind the second-place Pirates.
There is, however, a way to do it, if they can stay close. They still have 10 games remaining with the Cardinals, seven in Cincinnati.
Leake escaped more trouble than a politician’s son. He didn’t a pitch a single one-two-three inning, but came up with the outs when needed.
But when the first three Giants reached base in the seventh with the Reds leading, 8-1, manager Dusty Baker brought in Sam LeCure.
And with the bases loaded and no outs, LeCure retired three straight, two on strikeouts, to save Leake’s earned run average.
Fortunately Leake only had to face Hunter Pence four times. Pence, so active he makes the Energizer Bunny seem sedentary, had four hits.
But Leake recorded his 10th victory and he is 4-0 for his career against the Giants and he is 7-1 on the road this season.
He survived Wednesday because the Reds pounded 13 more hits. In their three wins in AT&T Park, they had 28 runs and 45 hits.
The Giants? They had 15 hits, but stranded 15 runners. They scored their one run off Leake in the third on one of the four hits Pence collected off him and Pence had five hits.
The Giants scored two off Logan Ondrusek during a 22-pitch eighth inning and the Giants stranded two.
Catcher Devin Mesoraco had eight hits in the three wins and drove in seven runs. He had two hits Wednesday and drove in two.
Brandon Phillips drove in two runs, increasing his season’s total to 81.
The Reds scored a run in the first on Joey Votto’s sacrifice fly and three in the third after they had two outs and nobody on. The next five reached base with Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Devin Mesoraco driving in runs with singles.
The Reds scored two more in fourth with only one hit because San Francisco pitchers walked four in the inning. Runs scored on Votto’s fielder’s choice and Phillips’ sacrifice fly.
Phillips and Mesoraco drove in runs in the sixth to give Leake the 8-1 lead.