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Wasted opportunities bite Giants in second straight loss to Reds

© David Kohl | 2022 May 28

The Reds, who started the season 3-22, have taken the first two games of their series from the Giants. In doing so, Cincinnati seems to have erased whatever remnants of goodwill San Francisco earned from stunning the Mets earlier this week with an offensive barrage. 

Alex Wood settled in after a shaky start, Evan Longoria homered and the Giants more than doubled the Reds in hits, but the Giants (24-21) couldn’t climb out of an early hole in a 3-2 loss. Aristedes Aquino threw out Joey Bart — the game-tying run — with a perfect one-hopper from right field to end the game. 

In seven out of the nine innings, the Giants put a runner on at least second base. They just failed to drive them home. 

According to the Park Factors metric, Great American Ballpark ranks as the most hitter-friendly yard in MLB. It has been even more lively than Coors Field so far this season. 

Yet after five innings, the Giants scored one run. They’d threatened for more; SF left Tommy La Stella on third base with one out in the first inning, then stranded the bases loaded with one out in the next frame. 

In total, the Giants went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position. In an uncharacteristic game for the club second in baseball in runs per game, San Francisco left 11 on base. 

Vladimir Gutiérez, who entered Saturday with an 8.70 ERA, worked around the traffic to make his longest start of the season. But once Luis Cessa replaced him in the top of the sixth, Evan Longoria took the reliever deep into the upper deck for a solo shot. Cincinnati’s lead trimmed to one. 

Longoria’s season started late due to finger surgery, and he started 5-for-32 in his first 10 games. But this week, the veteran has launched three home runs and recorded a .428 average. 

Wood also made his deepest start of his season, leaving after recording two outs in the sixth inning. Between the end of the second inning and the call to the bullpen, Wood retired 12 straight Reds. 

The Giants chased the win from behind, deploying high-leverage arms Dominic Leone and Tyler Rogers.

But the top of SF’s lineup went down in order in the seventh. They stranded two more runners in the eighth, reliving their early-inning frustrations. 

In the ninth, with one last chance to make the comeback, Curt Casali lined a leadoff single into left-center. With one out, SF’s best hitter of the early season, Mike Yastrzesmki, walked to put runners on first and second. 

Then Darin Ruf chased an outside slider for his third strikeout of the day. Down to the final out, Wilmer Flores drilled a single into right field. Joey Bart, pinch-running for Casali, got cut down at home by at least three steps. The failed scoring opportunities started early, and never stopped. 

Exactly one year ago, Mike Tauchman robbed Albert Pujols’ home run in Dodger Stadium to save a game. In a season of so many memorable moments, that play sticks out as one that helped propel San Francisco to a historic 107-win campaign.

Joc Pederson’s heroics from earlier this week had the makings of that sort of season-defining luster. But two losses to the Reds right after the Mets series win are two steps back. If Pederson’s three-home run game ends up being more than just a footnote, the Giants will need to perform with more consistency.


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