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Molina Has Three RBIs, Leads Giants To Win

Barry Zito may take the same approach as always but it’s producing better results.

SAN FRANCISCO —Barry Zito may take the same approach as always but it’s producing better results.

Zito pitched six strong innings and Bengie Molina homered among his three hits and drove in three runs, helping the San Francisco Giants beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 on Saturday.

“He’s been throwing better than his record indicates,“ Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s been our tough-luck pitcher and he’s been exceptional this past month.“

Eugenio Velez also connected as the Giants won for the fifth time in seven games. Fred Lewis added two hits.

Zito (8-10) gave up two runs and three hits over six innings to win his third straight decision. He walked two and struck out four. Zito last won three consecutive decisions from May 23-June 4, 2007.

“I didn’t really feel in synch,“ said Zito, who insisted he’s pitched the same way all year, even during a 1-6 start over the first two months. “Sometimes you go out there and feel amazing and when you look at the results you think you should be bummed, but you don’t. This time I had to grind every pitch and we came out with the win.“

Brian Wilson bounced back from Friday night’s blown save to pitch a scoreless ninth for his 28th save in 33 chances.

“I know Willy and he takes it hard,“ Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s not easy for any pitcher to wave that off but this kid is strong.“

Bronson Arroyo (10-11) gave up three runs on seven hits to lose his third decision in a row. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. Wladimir Balentien and Jonny Gomes drove in runs for the Reds, who have lost 11 of their last 13 road games.

“I thought I threw the ball pretty good,“ Arroyo said. “Zito threw well and things just went their way. You just hope you continue to feel good and things will work out in the end.“

Arroyo, who has not won in San Francisco in five starts, also had a three-game winning streak against the Giants end.

Zito beat the Reds for the first time since June of 2004 when he was with the Oakland Athletics.

“He had better command of the strike zone since the last time we saw him,“ Baker said. “His curveball was breaking sharply. I thought we were going to get to him early. Then the bullpen comes in and shuts us down.“

Molina, who has four extra base hits - two home runs - over his past three games, last recorded extra base hits in three straight between April 23-25 of this season.

“Velez, Molina and it was our day to make errors,“ Reds’ manager Dusty Baker said. “I thought Bronson threw an outstanding game.“

Molina doubled home a run in the first but the Reds tied it in the second on Balentien’s double and took the lead in the fourth after Brandon Phillips doubled and scored on Gomes’ single.

Velez led off the sixth with his second home run in two days and Molina put the Giants ahead with an RBI single.

Molina added a one-out home run in the eighth.