SAN FRANCISCO -- Edinson Volquez is one of the few Cincinnati pitchers who hasn't had to worry about run support this season. When he's been on the mound, the Reds score in bunches.
Volquez struck out a career-high 10 in seven innings, Brandon Phillips homered twice and the Reds used a six-run first inning to rough up Barry Zito in a 10-1 win over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.
It was the fourth time in five starts by Volquez that the Reds have backed him with at least eight runs. Each time, the Cincinnati right-hander was won.
"I didn't even throw one pitch in the game and I looked at the board and saw six runs," Volquez said. "When you get some runs early you're like, 'It's easy today. Just go out there and do what you do."'
Volquez (4-0) allowed one run and five hits to win his third consecutive start, and Ryan Freel's two-run single keyed the six-run first inning for Cincinnati. Freel later doubled and scored as the Reds won consecutive games for the first time in more than two weeks.
Zito, winless in his first six starts for the first time in his career, gave up eight runs and seven hits while walking three in only three innings. The left-hander, who signed a $126 million, seven-year deal prior to last season, was booed frequently by the crowd at AT&T Park during his shortest outing of the year.
Afterward, the Giants acknowledged they are considering sending Zito to the bullpen to work his way out of the slump. The three-time All-Star and 2002 AL Cy Young winner is only the third pitcher since 1956 to go 0-6 in April, joining Dave Stewart (Texas, 1984) and Mike Maroth (Detroit, 2003).
"It's an option, for sure," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "We have to do something different, there's no getting around that. We can't keep doing what we are doing. We have to get this guy right."
Phillips hit solo home runs in the seventh and ninth, the fourth time in his career he's had two homers in one game. Both came off Pat Misch, who was called up from Triple-A Fresno earlier in the day after the Giants placed starter Kevin Correia on the 15-day disabled list.
Volquez, who was acquired from Texas in an offseason trade, gave up Randy Winn's RBI single in the third but pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam. He retired 12 of the final 14 he faced while his ERA rose just a hair, from 1.21 to 1.23.
"He's one of the few pitchers around that can strike himself out of trouble," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "When he got in trouble that one time he reached back and got some dynamite stuff. That was an outstanding job."
Zito got off to a rough start and couldn't recover, a familiar theme this season.
He gave up two walks and five hits in the first inning when the Reds batted around, including an RBI triple from catcher Paul Bako that made it 6-0. After lasting only 3 2/3 innings in his previous start, Zito needed 39 pitches to get out of the first.
The Reds added another run in the second when Corey Patterson drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on Jeff Keppinger's single to left.
"We haven't really jumped anybody like that in a long time early in the game," Baker said. "Zito helped us some. He wasn't sharp or (the) Zito that I've seen many times. You've got to take advantage of that."
Zito gave up seven hits, walked three and struck out one.
After finishing 11-13 in his first season with San Francisco and going winless in his first six starts this season, Zito realizes something has to give. He wants to remain in the Giants rotation but is open to whatever decision the Giants make.
"I definitely want the ball. I'm not backing down from that," Zito said. "But they know what's best for the ballclub. It feels (bad) going out here and losing for these guys."
Volquez helped himself with a run-scoring groundout in the third. ... Cincinnati RF Ken Griffey Jr., who is three home runs shy of 600 for his career, and LF Adam Dunn were given the day off by manager Dusty Baker. ... San Francisco C Bengie Molina was held out of the lineup for a second straight day but is expected to play Monday against Colorado. The Giants are taking a cautious approach with Molina, who was plagued by a sore left quadriceps in spring training. ... Bochy remains tied with former San Francisco skipper Felipe Alou for most wins (1,033) in the majors by a foreign-born manager.