Reds plunge Giants into season’s abyss
AT&T PARK — Not much can be said about the Giants after Wednesday night except “thank God the Reds are leaving town.”
A split in Tuesday’s doubleheader and a last-chance gasp in Wednesday’s eighth inning weren’t enough to rescue San Francisco from a mountain of fielding errors and stranded baserunners over the course of four games as the Giants dropped the seemingly never-ending series finale to Cincinnati, 8-3.
The Giants (46-55) had only three runs to show for 15 hits after leading off six innings with singles and leaving 15 runners in scoring position.
Bruce Bochy sighed after the game and said:
Giants Manager Bruce Bochy
Video: CSN Bay Area
“Disappointing tonight. We squandered too many chances there. It goes to show you it doesn’t matter how many hits, it’s when you get them sometimes. They were trying to get back in it, they just couldn’t get a timely hit.”
The loss puts San Francisco in a 7-1/2 game hole behind first place, the Giants largest deficit all season.
Chad Gaudin (4-2, 2.77 ERA) was coming off of arguably his best start of the season with a home victory last Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
On Wednesday, he struggled to pitch 3-2/3 innings, giving up six runs and seven hits to the visiting Reds (58-44). Cincinnati won three of four in this series and were 6-1 against San Francisco in the season series.
Bochy said of Gaudin’s performance:
“Chad, he’s been so good. It was a little bit of a rough outing for him. And a couple plays we (didn’t) make didn’t help.”
Cincy starter Mike Leake, on the other hand, went six innings and allowed just one run despite giving up a career high 12 hits. Leake also went 3-for-4 at the plate with two singles and a double.
Reds leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo started the game by going deep into the count before smashing a double into the left-center gap. A sacrifice fly by Joey Votto two batters later brought Choo home to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead.
Gaudin appeared to get the game under control, mowing through the second inning and quickly notching two outs in the third.
But following a single by Votto, Brandon Phillips knocked a single into right-center that Gregor Blanco couldn’t get his glove on. The mistake gave Votto time to scamper home and make the score 2-0 Reds.
Jay Bruce hit a double to right field on the next at-bat, and a fielding error on Pence gave Phillips time to run home for a 3-0 Cincinnati lead.
Devin Mesoraco continued the damage with an RBI single, putting the visitors on top 4-0 before the inning was over.
San Francisco tried to mount a retaliation run in its half of the third inning. Marco Scutaro led off with a single, then Pence attempted to redeem himself from his defensive error by hitting smacking the ball into right field for a single. Scutaro slid belly-first diagonally across home plate to beat the tag, scoring the Giants first run of the game.
The home team’s defense continued to falter in the fourth. Leake singled to right-center. Pence crossed in front of Blanco as the ball deflected off Blanco’s glove.
Gaudin walked the next two batters and the bases were loaded. Back-to-back sac flies by Votto and Phillips allowed two more runs to score for the Reds, knocking Gaudin out of the game and leaving the Giants in a 6-1 hole.
Cincinnati added to its lead in the sixth. A lead-off triple by Votto and back-to-back singles from Phillips and Bruce brought the score to 7-1. Mesoraco got an RBI single before the inning was over, making the score 8-1.
With the seagulls hovering over the field in the late evening, the Giants made a final push in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Tony Abreu’s single opened up the frame, followed by a single by Scutaro. A line-drive double from Sandoval into shallow left field cleared the bases and closed the gap to 8-3, the final score.
The Giants get a breather Thursday before closing out their homestand with a three game series against the Chicago Cubs starting on Friday. Matt Cain (6-6, 5.00 ERA) vs. the Cubs Edwin Jackson (6-11, 5.03). First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
With Wednesday’s loss the Giants dropped to 3-4 on their 10-game homestand, going 2-1 against the Diamondbacks and 1-3 against the Reds. … The Giants are now 7-16 against the NL Central this season. … Gaudin allowed six earned runs on seven hits and five walks in 3-2/3 innings with one strikeout. … The six runs allowed are the most he has surrendered in an outing since August 5, 2009 versus Atlanta. … San Francisco has allowed a first inning run in five of the last six losses. … The four walks the Giants surrendered in the fourth inning matched their season-high for the most in an inning. … Hunter Pence matched his career-high with five hits. … The last Giant to record five singles in a game was Edgar Renteria on April 7, 2010… Leake has gone 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA in his last three starts at AT&T Park. He also matched his career-high with three hits and recorded his 11th career multi-hit game.