By Morris Phillips
SAN FRANCISCO–Johnny Cueto left early, but the Giants’ bullpen made sure their veteran starter was covered late in their 3-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
The win capped a 5-1 homestand for the Giants, with their surprising relievers getting the better of the Reds’ high-powered offense in high leverage situations for the second, straight day.
Cueto pitched into the sixth inning, but motioned to catcher Curt Casali that he couldn’t continue after striking out Nick Castellanos. Prior to that moment, Cueto cruised, allowing three hits and no walks with four strikeouts. The 35-year old veteran was diagnosed with tightness in his lat, and examined after the game to determine if he’ll miss any starts.
“It felt like he was doing fine,” Casali said of Cueto. “He might have maybe tweaked something compensating for another part of his body. You never want to see that, especially when he’s cruising like that. Hopefully he doesn’t have to miss a start, and if he does, hopefully it’s not too, too long.”
“We all had visions in the dugout of that being another deep-into-the-game Johnny Cueto start,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “He just looked outstanding and totally in control.”
The Reds, however, saw more than enough of Cueto, who picked up the win, and shutdown the best offense in baseball through the season’s first two weeks in the process.
I’m confident that we’re not going to have too many games like that with our offense,” Reds manager David Bell said. “At the same time, you have to give credit to Johnny Cueto. We’ve all seen him for a long time. I thought he was outstanding.”
Austin Slater doubled home Brandon Crawford in the fifth inning, then took third on a passed ball. Casali’s sharply hit ground ball was fielded cleanly by Eugenio Suarez, but his throw to plate was too late to catch the sliding Slater.
In the eighth, the Giants added on with Maurice Dubon’s RBI single which was actually a catchable pop fly that bounced out of Jonathan India’s glove allowing Evan Longoria to score from second base.
The Reds homered twice in Monday’s series opener, and twice more in the first inning on Tuesday, but Giants’ pitching shut them down after that with the bullpen coming up big both days.
In the eighth, after Jonathan India drew a leadoff walk, Tyler Rogers induced a double play ground ball from Tyler Stephenson. And in the ninth, closer Jake McGee allowed a base hit to Joey Votto, but struck out Eugenio Suarez on three pitches to end it while picking up his Major League-leading sixth save.
The Giants travel back east on Thursday before opening a three-game series in Miami on Friday night. Anthony DeSclafani will start for the Giants, while the Marlins have yet to name a starter for the 4:10pm start.