Thairo Estrada of the San Francisco Giants while rounding the bases after hitting his sixth home run of the season against the Cincinnati Reds in the bottom of the fourth inning at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Sat Jun 25, 2022 (AP News photo)
Cincinnati (24-47). 2. 5. 0
San Francisco. (39-32) 9. 9. 1
By Lewis Rubman
SAN FRANCISCO–About the only bright spots in Friday night’s disappointing San Francisco Giants (39-32) loss to the Cincinnati Reds (24-47) were Evan Longoria’s solo home run shot and the sterling three innings of no run no hit relief turned in by Yúnior Marte, recently called up from Sacramento.
Saturday’s fray offered plenty of them, including solo home runs by Evan Longoria, Thairo Estrada, and Joc Pederson as well as a three run roundtriper by Wilmer Flores which led to a Giant landslide of runs defeating the Red s 9-2 at Oracle Park in San Francisco.
They complimented an outstanding performance by the Giants’ starter, Logan Webb, who brought his large inventory of deliveries to the mound when he toed the rubber at 4:15. He used his arsenal of four seam fastballs, sliders, changeups, cutters, and sliders to good effect.
Webb was in command today, hurling six innings without allowing an earned run He yielded only two hits and two walks while striking out six. He threw 97 pitches, 55 for strikes, on his way to his seventh win against two losses and lowering his ERA to 3.04 in the process.
Mike Minor, the Reds’ starter, was on the Kansas City Royals’ injured list when last year’s season ended, and, after being acquired by Cincy late in the off season, was unable to pitch in the bigs until June 6. He came into today’s contest at 1-3,6.97, and had a career record against San Francisco of 3-3, 4.04 with an opponent’s batting average of .227.
He lasted only five innings, in which he threw 96 pitches, and 35 of those were balls. Another three went to home runs, accounting for three of the six runs, all earned, Minor allowed. He walked two and struck out four, taking the loss that brought his season’s record to 1-4, 7.71.
The Giants lost a chance to grab an early lead in their half of the first. Austin Slater led off with a single to left. After Wilmer Flores went down swinging, Joc Pederson dropped a fly that landed just inside the left field foul line that umpire Andy Fletcher called foul.
His ruling was overturned on review, but Pederson, who had stopped running had to remain on first while Slater occupied third. Cleanup hitter Darin Ruf promptly grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, raising the question, which is a pitcher’s best friend, a twin killing or poor officiating?
The Reds’ lucky streak continued in the top of the second, when Webb was touched for an unearned run . With Mike Moustaskas, who had walked, on first and two out, Albert Almora, Jr., hit a bounder to third that Longoria dropped, picked up, and dropped again, allowing Almora to reach first and Moustakas to move up to second. Nick Senzel drove the lead runner in to give the Rheinlanders a 1-0 lead.
Longoria quickly made amends for his costly error, taking an 80 mph knuckle curve 411 feet deep into the left field bleachers. After Mike Yastremski flew out to center, Thairo Estrada gave the fans in the left field bleachers another present, a 375 foot blast off a 91 mph four seam fastball that gave the home team a 2-1 advantage.
The orange and black resumed their relentless attack in the third inning. Slater opened the frame with a full count walk and mtored to third on Flores’s double to deep left. Both runners held on Pederson’s ground dout to second. Ruf’s single to left brought in while Flores moved on to third and then scored on Longoria’s sacrifice fly to center. It now was 4-1 San Francisco.
The Giant offensive continued in the home fourth, Minor issued a full count lead off passport to Estrada, who, with one away, stole second and, one out later, legged it home on Tommy LaStella’s double to right ccnter, upping San Francisco’s lead to four runs.
The Giants extended that lead further in fifth, thanks to Joc Pederson’s 17th round tripper of the year, a 420 foot monster shot that bounced high off the right side of the batter’s eye in centerfield to lead off the inning. It came on an 0-1 countand off an 88 mph four seamer.
Jared Solomon relieved the ineffective Minor at the start of the Giants’ sixth. He didn’t do any better than his predessor. He retired Estrada, his first batter, but walked Wynns and LaStella before striking out Slater. Then Flores took him deep, 379 feet into the left center field bleachers for his ninth dinger of the year. Dauri Moreta followed him in the Giants’ seventh and retired the side in order.
Tyler Rogers put the Reds away 1,2,3 in the seventh before giving way to Sam Long for the eighth. Cincinnati hit him hard. Aramis García led off with a single to right but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.
With two out, Brandon Drury connected with an 84 mph change of pace and sent it to the third or fourth row of the left center field bleachers, 360 feet from the plate. In spite of a single to the well booed Tommy Pham, Long escaped without further damaged, and San Francisco still was ahead, 9-2.
Ron Detwiler was on the bump for the Reds when the Giants came to. bat for the last time in their half of the eighth. He put them down in order on a bakers’ dozen of pitches.
Ahead by seven runs after eight innings, Kapler and Company stayed with Long for the Cincinnati ninth.
The rubber game of the series will start tomorrow at 1:05. Tyler Mahle (2-6, 4.57) will handle the pitching chores for the visitors and Anthony DeScalafani (0-1, 7.71) will be on the mound for the Giants.