AT&T PARK — Johnny Cueto showed Giants hitters the red light for the second-straight night Friday.
Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay
The Cincinnati Reds starter quelled Giants bats for 8-1/3 innings en route to a 6-2 victory in Game 2 of the four-game series.
Cueto (W, 8-5, 1.88 ERA) defended his ERA crown and only allowed two earned runs while striking out three.
Manager Bruce Bochy didn’t expect his team to do much against Cueto:
“You don’t expect to score a lot of runs when you’re facing a guy who’s got the lowest ERA in the majors.”
Madison Bumgarner (L, 9-5, 2.90 ERA) matched zeros with Cueto for those four innings, but unraveled in the fifth, surrendering five runs on six hits as the Reds batted around in the inning.
The nightmare finally ended when Bumgarner got Devin Mesoraco to fly out and plodded bleakly back to the bench.
Bumgarner tried to offer some sort of explanation about unraveling in the inning:
“There might have been a couple that weren’t that great of a pitch, but for the most part I felt like we were making pitches and they were just getting hits.”
Bochy thought his starter may have gone to the well a few too many times:
“He kind of got in the same area there with some pitches. They got up a little bit.”
A crucial moment prolonged the fifth inning when Cueto poked a sacrifice bunt in front of Buster Posey with runners on first and second and one out.
Posey tried to cut down lead runner Chris Heisey at third but was too late.
Posey regretted the decision after the game:
“I should have just thrown the ball to first and taken the out.”
The Reds went on to score four runs after that.
Hunter Pence added to the inning with a RBI ground out to make it 5-2.
The Reds tacked on one more in the seventh when Jay Bruce hit a sinking liner that Pence missed by centimeters.
Pence marched wide-eyed toward the second base umpire wondering why it wasn’t an out. Upon further review, the umpires verified that the ball was trapped by Pence, and the Reds went up 6-2.
Cueto was going for a major league-leading fourth complete game, but left after a single by Pence and walk by Posey.
Closer Aroldis Chapman came in and closed things out for the 16th time this year.
Yusmeiro Petit finished the game for the Giants with three innings of relief, surrendering one earned run.
Even though the Giants have struggled offensively, Petit said he and the rest of the pitching staff try to keep the “same mentality” no matter the situation:
“We’re ready for any time we’re needed, the other pitchers too. We just focus on the job.”
Billy Hamilton took sole possession of second in the majors in steals during the top of the ninth with his 33rd swipe.
He took third with one out off Posey who couldn’t gun down the speedster in time.
He trails only Dee Gordon of the Dodgers who has 40.
The Giants have lost 10 or their last 12 games and have been outscored 60 to 36 in that span. … San Francisco recorded their major league-leading 23rd triple Friday night. … Marco Scutaro played three innings at second base for the AZL Giants Friday and Brandon Belt went 2-for-3 with a home run in his rehab appearance with Class A San Jose.