San Francisco, CA – Two of the best pitchers faced off tonight but one came away with the win. Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner battled through four scoreless innings until the Reds scored five runs in the fifth resulting in a 6-2 victory over the Giants.
“We raised the guy’s ERA tonight,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
“For the most part, I felt we were making pitches and they were just getting hits,” said Bumgarner. “That’s a frustrating time. You try to minimize the damage, and they keep getting hit after hit, whether they’re hard-hit lines drives, bloopers between outfielders or anything. It’s frustrating.”
Despite Bumgarner unraveling in the fifth, he became the first Giants player to record two pickoffs in the same inning since Bud Black did so on May 5, 1992 vs Chicago-NL in the 5th inning. The last pitcher to accomplish this feat in the Majors was Neftali Feliz on May 18, 2011 at Kansas City in the 9th inning.
Billy Hamilton leadoff the first with a single but got picked off and caught stealing for the first out. Todd Frazier bunted on a infield single and was safe at first. Bumgarner struck out Brandon Phillips and while Jay Bruce was at-bat Frazier got picked off and caught stealing to end the inning.
“When I get up in big situations, I want to come through for the team,” Zach Cozart said. “We knew in that inning if we could just put up a couple, Cueto was on top of his game. It was a big inning for us, and Cueto took care of the rest.
The Reds opened up their offense in the fifth scoring five runs off Bumgarner. Devin Mesoraco leadoff the frame with a double and ended the inning by flying out to right field. Cozart hit a RBI single followed by Cueto’s sacrifice bunt that loaded the bases with one out.
Hamilton’s two-run single made it a 3-0 game. Both Frazier and Bruce followed with RBI singles to extend Cincinnati’s lead 5-0 before Bumgarner forced Mesoraco to pop out to end the inning, leaving two runners stranded.
“He’s got that ERA for a reason,” Posey said. “He was moving the ball back and forth with high velocity, sinking it, cutting it, with a good changeup. He just doesn’t give you the same look more than once.”
Tyler Colvin pinched-hit for Bumgarner, tripled and scored in San Francisco’s first run in the sixth. Hunter Pence grounded out and Colvin scored making it a 5-2 game but that wasn’t enough as the Giants offense continued their struggles in producing enough runs for a victory.
The Reds added on another run in the seventh and provided superb defense to back Cueto’s almost complete game until he put two on in the ninth bringing in their closer to finish the game. Pablo Sandoval hit into a fielder’s choice and Michael Morse struck out to end the game stranding two runners.
“That’s the past. You don’t remember those things,” said Cueto through a translator about the history between the two teams. “You don’t start thinking about those things. All I have to do is get on the mound and throw the game.”
Cueto took a no-hitter through five frames until Sandoval broke it up with a single. He tossed 8 1/3 innings, allowing three hits, two runs and one walk. Cueto improved to 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA in five career starts against the Giants.