What’s with the Giants pitchers and the third inning lately? Or specifically, the third inning of the opening game of a series on the road?
Friday night it was Peavy at the Mets—we all know how that ended. Then tonight, in what should have been Johnny Cueto’s triumphant return to Great American Ballpark, his old pal Joey Votto took him long. The Reds scored six runs in the third inning.
Here’s the good news: Cueto was great in the first and second innings and although he had an awful third, he came out in the fourth and fifth and shut down the Reds. He kept the Giants still within a bat swing away from tying it up or even going ahead.
The Giants were already on the board with three runs in the second. They couldn’t seem to get off that mark either. The Reds, it seemed, were no longer giving up runs. But in the seventh inning, the Giants went out and manufactured a couple of runs. After two runs scored, Brandon Crawford came to the plate with Brandon Belt on third and Gregor Blanco on first. Crawford hoped he could drive Belt home to tie the score. He did that and then some.
Crawford’s first big league home run was in Milwaukee back in 2011–and it was a grand slam. He likes a big moment, apparently, because when he hit the ball over the fence last night it wasn’t a grand slam, but it sure felt like one. It gave the Giants a two-run lead. I hoped we could hold on to it.
We didn’t. Oh, the Reds held on at six alright, but the Giants added an extra run to their score in the ninth for insurance. Hunter Pence led off with a walk, Belt’s single got him to third and Crawford tacked another RBI onto his night, with a base hit to drive Pence home.
Vin Mazzaro, the new pitcher, got the win and Santiago Casilla got the save. And Johnny Cueto got a no-decision. Could have been worse I guess. A no-decision sounds better than a loss. The final score was:
Giants 9, Reds 6
The Giants return to the Queen City today with the Shark–Jeff Samardzija–on the mound. Pitching in the friendly confines of Great American Ballpark has not been good for him in the past, hopefully he’ll fare better as a Giant. Game time is 4:10 pm, and will be broadcast on CSN-BA and KNBR 680.