Johnny Cueto held the Giants offense in-check all evening, and Madison Bumgarner’s one rough inning was enough to give the Reds game two of the four-game set 6-2.
The Reds got to Bumgarner (9-5) early when Billy Hamilton led off the game with a single, but the Giants lefty picked him off. Todd Frazier also singled, and also was promptly picked off by Bumgarner making him the first Giants pitcher to record two pick-offs in an inning since Bud Black did it in 1992.
Both pitchers cruised along until the top of the fifth, where the Reds broke it open. Devin Mesoraco led off with a double, and a pair of one-out singles from Chris Heisey and Zack Cozart got Cincinnati on the board. Cueto then laid down a bunt and, when Buster Posey tried to get Heisey at third, everyone was safe. Hamilton and Frazier followed it with RBI singles of their own, and a two-out hit from Jay Bruce made it 5-0.
That inning was the lone blemish on Bumgarner’s night, as he shut-out the Reds in every other. In total, he pitched six innings, allowed nine hits, five runs, one walk, and struck out three. He threw 97 pitches, 69 strikes, and 26 of which came in that fifth inning. Against a pitcher as good as Cueto, Bumgarner knew he’d have to keep the Reds offense down.
“Going against Cueto, especially this year, run are gonna be hard to come by. You definitely don’t want to give up a five-spot in an inning, so that cost us. He’s a great pitcher, and I knew that going in obviously. Tried to keep us in the game and didn’t do it in the fifth inning.”
San Francisco managed to scratch across a couple of runs against the Cincinnati starter in the bottom of the sixth when Brandon Hicks led off with a walk (yes, you read that right), and Tyler Colvin crushed a pinch-hit triple. That gave the Giants 23 three-baggers for the season so far, which leads the Majors. Hunter Pence grounded out to short to bring home Colvin, and it was 5-2.
That’d be all the struggling San Francisco offense could muster against Cueto (8-5, 1.88), the MLB ERA leader. During their last home games, the Giants have been outscored 60 to 36. The Reds right-hander was incredibly effective all evening, needing just 106 pitches to make it through eight-and-a-third. He allowed just three hits, two runs, two walks, and struck out three.
Cincinnati tagged Yusmeio Petit for one more run in the top of the seventh. Frazier collected his third single of the night and stole second. With two outs, Bruce dropped the ball into right field just out of the reach of a diving Pence, who thought he’d caught the ball. After an umpire review, it was ruled that he’d trapped it, allowing Frazier to score and making it 6-2.
The Giants have now lost four-of-five on this ten-game homestand and are 10-14 in the month of June. They’ve watched their nine-and-a-half game lead in the National League West dwindle down to just two. All facets of the team – pitching, defense, offense – seem to be struggling simultaneously, and Bruce Bochy knows that they’ll need to come out of this funk as a unit.
“This isn’t about hitters not scoring runs or pitchers not having quality starts. It’s us as a group, and we’ll have to come out of this together. You can’t really do anything different. Sure, you try a little harder, each one of us, but you can’t try to do more than what you need to do.”
Players and fans alike hope they come out of it soon.
“You just come out and play, and hopefully tomorrow’s the day,” Posey said, “because you gotta do it at some point.”
Tomorrow will be Matt Cain’s day (1-6, 4.82), and he’ll be taking on Alfredo Simon (10-3, 2.92) at 7pm PST.