The Giants sent Aaron Sanchez to the mound Monday night, who put together another solid outing, but the San Francisco offense was unable to scratch across any runs in a 3-0 loss to Cincinnati in game one of a three-game series.
Fresh off their first sweep of the season, the Giants (6-4) welcomed the NL Central-leading Reds (7-3) to town as they looked to extend their winning streak to five games to kick off their 2021 home schedule.
Sanchez (L, 0-1, 2.70 ERA, 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) made quick work of the Reds in the top of the first inning. Reds lefty Wade Miley retired the Giants in the bottom half of the inning after surrendering a leadoff walk.
The Reds, who are one of the best home run hitting teams in the league, struck first on — you guessed it — a home run. With one out in the top of the third inning, Sanchez walked Tucker Barnhart, who scored on a two run home run off the bat of Jesse Winker with two outs in the inning. The Reds jumped out ahead 2-0.
Through the top of the fifth inning, Sanchez was cruising after allowing the two-run homer. After retiring the Reds in the fifth, Sanchez had thrown 66 pitches, setting himself up for another couple innings of work if he could maintain his current pace. Except Giants manager Gabe Kapler had other plans, pinch-hitting for Sanchez in the bottom of the fifth with two outs and a runner on.
Sanchez was pleased that he kept the Giants in the game, but revealed why he believed his effort wasn’t good enough, specifically in regards to the two-run homer given up in the third inning:
“When you’re in the big leagues, I feel like you’ve gotta come correct every night. For me tonight, when I got ahead i was dominant, when I fell behind, that’s when I got in trouble. For me, it’s just more or less just [staying ahead in the count] and the outcomes are on my side. When you fall behind, you get pushed back into a corner…That’s the big leagues. You gotta get ahead, stay ahead, and the outcomes will be different for sure.”
Tommy La Stella, who pinch-hit for Sanchez, grounded out to end the fifth. At 66 pitches, pulling Sanchez for a pinch-hitter with two outs and a runner on first was a questionable move, given how well Sanchez had pitched. The Giants relied on their bullpen the rest of the way.
Austin Slater made an incredible catch in the top of the sixth. Tracking a fly ball down the right field line, Slater leaped over the wall as his entire body fell into the netting as he held on for the catch. Unfortunately for Slater and the Giants, the call did not stand as the ball just grazed the netting as it fell into his glove.
The Giants offense was ice cold Monday night. Held scoreless through seven innings, time was running out against a Reds bullpen that was throwing the ball well.
Kapler discussed how the Giants current struggles offensively do not represent what type of hitters they have in the lineup:
“Overall, we’ve gotten some big hits, but I don’t think this is the type of offense that we are. I think we’re the type of offense that sees a lot of pitches, that gets pitchers on the ropes and gets big hits and produces big innings. We haven’t seen that consistently from our offense this year, but I believe that that’s in there with this group.”
Garcia ended up throwing 2-1/3 innings in long-relief of Sanchez out of the bullpen. Matt Wisler took over with one out in the top of the eighth inning.
The Giants went quietly into the night. Both the eighth and ninth innings were uneventful as the Reds completed their shutout Monday night, snapping the Giants winning streak.
- The Giants are trending towards some normalcy in the club house: