(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cincinnati Reds haven't won four straight since opening the season 4-0. They will try to match that mark Friday in the second test of a four-game series versus the San Francisco Giants.
The Reds recorded their third win in a row with Thursday's 4-3 victory, as Marlon Byrd's solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning was enough to keep the wins coming. Byrd had two hits and three RBI, stroking a two-run single in the fifth inning.
"No one is happier than Marlon because he had a slow start," Reds manager Bryan Price said of Byrd. "We thought he was a missing piece to our offense."
Byrd has homered in two straight games and six times in the past 11.
Brayan Pena went 2-for-4 with an RBI and has hit safely in six of his last seven games, batting .521 in that stretch (12-for-23).
Jay Bruce appeared in the 1,000th game of his career and went 0-3 with a walk and a pair of strikeouts.
Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto was sharp in the no-decision and fanned nine batters over seven solid innings, charged with two runs and five hits with three walks. Jumbo Diaz got the final two outs in the eighth for the win and Aroldis Chapman struck out two in the ninth for his seventh save.
Chapman has converted 27 consecutive save chances.
Jason Marquis draws the start for Cincinnati Friday and has a 3-2 record in six starts with a 5.66 ERA. Marquis had won three straight starts until an 8-2 loss against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, when he was touched for five runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Marquis has faced the Giants 17 times (16 starts) in his career and sports a 7-5 ledger to go along with a 2.95 ERA.
The defending World Series champion Giants have been inconsistent since opening the month of May with five straight wins and are 3-5 in their previous eight contests.
San Francisco suffered its second straight 4-3 setback on Thursday at Great American Ball Park, as Gregor Blanco went 2-for-2 with two runs scored and both Angel Pagan and Buster Posey recorded an RBI. Posey has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games and is batting .338 over that time (20-for-59).
Tim Lincecum did not factor in the outcome and lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and five hits with five walks and four K's. Lincecum said the mound was slippery and a little muddy.
"Too many wasted pitches," Lincecum said. "I wasn't attacking the zone the way I wanted. I was lucky to get out of there with what I did."
Sergio Romo served up Byrd's home run in the eighth to take the loss.
The Giants have lost eight of their last 11 road games and will have their ace on the hill Friday night. Madison Bumgarner looks to bounce back from a recent loss and was aiming for a third straight win, but the Miami Marlins had other plans in a 6-2 victory on Saturday.
Bumgarner allowed three runs in five innings, struck out a season-high 10 batters and issued a pair of walks. He has struck out no fewer than six batters in each of his past four outings.
The left-hander and 2014 World Series MVP is 3-2 with a 3.30 earned run average in seven starts and the defending champions are 4-3 when he takes the field. Bumgarner has made six career starts against Cincinnati, going 2-3 with a 4.66 ERA.
The Reds were 5-2 against the Giants last season and have won 12 of the last 15 regular season games in this series at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati is 21-8 in the past 29 meetings with San Francisco.