Giants’ icy bats stay chilled against Reds

AT&T PARK — It wasn’t exactly a no-hitter, but Cincinnati Reds starter Mike Leake stymied the Giants Thursday night.

Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay

Leake (W, 6-6, 3.44 ERA) went eight innings with a career-high 12 strikeouts to help the Reds take the series opener 3-1.

Adam Duvall played his first major league game in place of ailing Michael Morse at first base. He struck out and fouled out in his first two at-bats, but his third plate appearance sent Giants fans into a frenzy.

The utility infielder out of Louisville smashed a solo shot to left field on an 81 mph, 0-2 slider on the outer part of the plate from Reds starter Mike Leake to make it 3-1 in the seventh.

It was a moment Duvall said he’d cherish forever:

“That’s a feeling I’ll never forget, rounding the bases. It’s my first hit, but that was pretty neat to be able to do that.”

Ryan Vogelsong (L, 5-4, 3.96 ERA) pitched a solid game coming off a win in Arizona. He only allowed one run in six innings while striking out seven.

The Reds struck first blood on a Zack Cozart double that drove in Jay Bruce in the fifth.

Vogelsong was in a rather somber mood about that and his performance after the tough-luck loss.

“It was good, just not good enough… I pitched my butt off to strike out Ludwick [in the fifth]. He’s a guy that’s given me trouble in the past… Then I hang a curveball to the eight-hole hitter and give up a double and a run scores from first. That chaps my butt a little bit.”

The play was made close on a clean relay throw by second baseman Joe Panik, but Bruce slid in just before Buster Posey could apply the run-saving tag.

Vogelsong escaped trouble in the sixth when speedster Billy Hamilton and Todd Frazier led off the inning with back-to-back singles.

Vogelsong got Joey Votto to pop out to shallow center for the first out before Hamilton swiped third with one out.

Devin Mesoraco then popped out to Panik who fired a bullet to gun down a greedy Hamilton at home and keep the score 1-0.

After a two-out Giants rally in the bottom half of the sixth was derailed, Righty slugger Brandon Phillips brought reliever Jean Machi down to Earth in the seventh.

Phillips clubbed a solo homer to deep left field to make it 2-0 Reds. It was the first home run Machi has allowed all season. Hits by Bruce and Ryan Ludwick made it 3-0. The runs were Machi’s second and third allowed in relief this season.

Machi’s ERA went from 0.29 to 0.84 in the inning.

Manager Bruce Bochy was frustrated with the anemic offense:

“We’re just not swinging the bats very well right now… On a night we weren’t hitting the ball at all, [Duvall] managed to hit one out that put us within two. There’s a big difference between two and three. He did a good job out there. We gotta get some other guys going. We’re a little cold right now.”

Reds closer Aroldis Chapman came in with a 3-1 lead in the ninth and saved his 15th game of the season.

Duvall’s home run ball was caught by a season-ticket holder and returned to him after the game.

Duvall plans on returning the favor:

“I’m going to work on getting him some bats signed.”

The Giants will look to right the ship when Madison Bumgarner (9-4, 2.63 ERA) will clash with ERA-leader Johnny Cueto (7-5, 1.86 ERA) Friday night. Game time is 7:15 p.m.

Notes

Jean Machi had his 25-1/3 inning scoreless streak snapped on Brandon Phillips’ solo home run… Adam Duvall became the 13th Giants player to register a homer as his first major league hit. Brett Pill was the last to do so on Sept. 6, 2011 in San Diego… Brandon Belt went 1-for-3 and was hit by a pitch in his first rehab game in San Jose Thursday night.


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