Tim Lincecum was rocked by the Cincinnati offense, and the Giants couldn’t overcome an early deficit as the Reds took game one from the Giants 8-3.
San Francisco has been wildly successful so far this season when scoring first, and Hunter Pence launching his eighth home run of the year in the top of the first seemed to be a good sign for the black and orange.
But Lincecum continued his first-inning struggles. Billy Hamilton led off with a double. Lincecum got Hamilton in a run-down, but threw the ball into centerfield, allowing Hamilton to score and tie the game at one. Todd Frazier followed it up with a walk, moved to second on a groundout by Brandon Phillips, and scored on a double by Jay Bruce. Devin Mesoraco crushed his ninth homer of the year to left, and suddenly it was 4-1 Reds. In 2014, Lincecum now has a 9.00 ERA in the first inning.
San Francisco began to chip away at the Cincinnati lead immediately. With one out in the top of the second, Hector Sanchez was hit by a pitch, and Brandon Crawford doubled. Joaquin Arias collected his fourth RBI in the last two games with a sacrifice fly to right, cutting the Reds lead in half. They added another run in the third when Angel Pagan led off with a walk, Pence doubled, and Pablo Sandoval hit a sacrifice fly to center. This made it 4-3, and it seemed like the Giants would make yet another comeback.
But then came the fifth inning and the undoing of Lincecum (4-4, 5.01). Once again, Hamilton got the scoring started for the Reds as he led off with a single, stole second, and moved to third on a throwing error by Sanchez. Frazier worked another walk, and Phillips doubled both of the runners home. Phillips promptly stole second and scored on a single by Bruce. Bruce then stole second as well, moved to third on yet another throwing error by Sanchez, and scored on a Brayan Pena fielder’s choice.
And Lincecum’s night was done. He lasted just four-and-a-third innings, giving up six hits, eight runs – all earned – three walks, and striking out three. He threw just 86 pitches, 53 strikes, and allowed four stolen bases.
Regardless of Linceum’s struggles, his offense didn’t do much to help him as the Giants went o-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left four men on base. The four errors also certainly didn’t help.
Despite giving up three early runs, Homer Bailey (6-3, 4.99) settled in nicely to earn the win. He threw 98 pitches over the course of six innings, giving up five hits, three runs, one walk, and seven strikeouts. It was the first time the Giants had seen Bailey since he threw a no-hitter against them on July 2, 2013.
On a positive note, the San Francisco bullpen continued to be effective, as David Huff and George Kontos tossed three-and-two-thirds innings of shut-out baseball, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out three.
The Giants will look to rebound on Wednesday when they send Ryan Vogelsong (3-2, 3.45) to face Tony Cingrani (2-4, 4.01).