SAN FRANCISCO, SEPT. 6 -- Although the Cincinnati Reds lost today, they got a lift knowing they won't have to return to Candlestick Park this season.

Scott Garrelts pitched seven good innings and Matt Williams added to his National League-leading RBI total with a two-run double as the San Francisco Giants held on to beat the first-place Reds, 6-2.

The Reds, who won only one of nine games here this season, began the day with a 7 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West.

"I'd just as soon not have to come back here," said losing pitcher Rick Mahler (7-6).

Garrelts (11-10) is 3-1 against the Reds this season, including coming within one out of a no-hitter. He gave up eight hits and two runs in seven innings and Steve Bedrosian pitched 1 1/3 innings for his 11th save.

"The way we've played against them makes us feel good, but it also just goes to show you anything can happen the rest of the way," Giants Manager Roger Craig said. "It could have been 10 1/2 games, now it's 8 1/2. There's still a chance."

After Will Clark doubled and Kevin Mitchell walked with two outs off Mahler in the first, Williams doubled off the center field fence to score two runs for 105 RBI this season. Terry Kennedy's single made it 3-0.

"That team hasn't made the playoffs yet," said Clark. "When we get mathematically eliminated, if we get mathematically eliminated . . . until that time, don't ask me about the Reds."

Mahler settled down and held the Giants hitless after giving up a two-out single to Kennedy in the third, leaving the game after six innings trailing by 3-2.

He contributed to both Reds runs. He singled to lead off the third, went to second when center fielder Brett Butler bobbled the ball and scored on Herm Winningham's double.

Mariano Duncan tripled and scored on Mahler's fly to cut the lead to 3-2 in the fifth.

"We're in great shape going into L.A., but we've still got to win some games," Mahler said.

He was one of the few Reds doing any talking after the loss. Most were still upset over the way first-base umpire Greg Bonin threw out Duncan with two outs in the ninth when he threw a piece of equipment on the field after being called out on strikes by umpire Dutch Rennert.

"No talking baseball," Duncan said.

"I don't even want to talk about this crew," said Manager Lou Piniella, who was ejected from Wednesday night's game. "We lost this game way before the last inning."

"Leave the players alone," said Luis Quinones, as reporters approached anyone willing to offer an explanation for Duncan's tantrum.

The Giants scored an unearned run in the seventh when Butler came home from second when center fielder Glenn Braggs dropped Clark's two-out fly ball.