Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Marlon Byrd hit the game-winning home run in the eighth inning and contributed three RBI as the Cincinnati Reds defeated the San Francisco Giants, 4-3, in the opener of a four-game set.
Reds starter Johnny Cueto racked up seven of his nine strikeouts from the fourth inning to the sixth, and was in line for the win until he gave way to Tony Cingrani in the eighth. Cingrani walked pinch-hitter Andrew Susac to begin the inning, but erased him on the basepaths with a pickoff to first.
That proved vital because Joe Panik followed with a triple past a diving Byrd in left and Angel Pagan's base hit tied the game at 3-3 in the next at-bat.
Jumbo Diaz (2-0) got the final two outs of the inning and recorded the win thanks to Byrd's one-out blast.
Sergio Romo (0-2) got Todd Frazier for the first out of the eighth on hard hit liner to third, then Byrd hit his eighth homer of the season to give the Reds the lead.
Aroldis Chapman fired a scoreless ninth inning for his seventh save and close out Cincinnati's third straight win.
"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."
Cueto ran into immediate danger in the first as Gregor Blanco singled and Panik walked to start things off. Pagan's groundout advanced both runners prior to Buster Posey's single for a 1-0 lead.
Brandon Belt struck out in the following at-bat, but Posey was stealing on the pitch and shortstop Zack Cozart caught Panik sneaking off third when he received the throw down from catcher Bryan Pena. Cozart fired to Frazier and the Reds got out of trouble when Pena finished off the rundown by tagging Panik.
Pagan walked with two outs in the third to put runners at the corners, then Blanco scored on a balk by Cueto.
"Well, he balked. He kind of had a low set. I thought it was a balk," Price said of Cueto's fifth balk this season.
Cincinnati cut its deficit in half in the fourth on Pena's RBI single that knocked in Frazier, who doubled to begin the inning.
Giants starter Tim Lincecum plunked Frazier in the next inning to load the bases with two outs before Byrd flared one out to right for a 3-2 lead.
Cueto scattered five hits and allowed two runs in the no-decision ... Lincecum surrendered three runs on five hits and five walks in 4 2/3 innings ... The Reds are the only team Lincecum has yet to record a victory in his career ... Cueto owns a 3-1 career record and a 1.98 ERA against the Giants entering Wednesday.