The Cincinnati Reds are on a hot streak and not even one of the National League’s top pitchers could stop them Friday in San Francisco as the Reds dispatched of the Giants 6-2.
Johnny Cueto (8-5) didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning and only allowed two runs on three hits in 8.1 innings to keep his ERA under two runs per game (1.88). Madison Bumgarner’s (9-5) attempt to join the ten win club was dashed in the fifth inning as he allowed ten men to come the plate.
Bumgarner did turn a unique feat in the first inning as he picked off both Billy Hamilton and Todd Frazier. The Reds (41-38) were held off the base paths until Brandon Phillips singled in the fourth inning. Then Cincinnati’s offense erupted in the fifth inning.
It started with a leadoff double by Devin Mesoraco and that was followed by a one-out single Chris Heisey. Mesoraco scored on a Zack Cozart single to plate the first run. Cueto then sacrificed himself, but the Giants (46-34) were unable to retire any of the runners to set up a bases loaded situation for Hamilton. The speedster continued to stay hot at the plate when he drove in a pair to make it 3-0. Since the beginning of June, Hamilton has hit .323 with three homers, 16 RBI, 18 runs scored, eight doubles, and swiped 13 bases.
Frazier followed with an RBI single of his own and Jay Bruce capped the inning with another RBI single to extend the lead to 5-0. The Giants got a big boost from pinch hitter Tyler Colvin who tripled home a run in the sixth and then scored on a ground ball by Hunter Pence to cut the lead to 5-2.
Yusmeiro Petit came on in the seventh in relief of Bumgarner and allowed a single to Frazier, who then stole second to set up an RBI single by Bruce for a four run lead. Cueto retired the first hitter he faced in the ninth, but allowed a single and a walk to bring on Aroldis Chapman. Chapman retired the last two hitters including of a strikeout of Michael Morse to pick up his 16th save of the season.
The four game set continues Saturday as the Reds look to extend their win streak to four (they have also won six of their last seven), as Alfredo Simon (10-3, 2.92 ERA) takes on the struggling Matt Cain (1-6, 4.82 ERA). Cain has allowed 17 runs in his last three outings (0-3).
Cincinnati is 16-9 in the month of June, but trails first place Milwaukee (50-32) by 7.5 games, who were the first team in baseball to 50 wins. The Brewers haven’t given an inch in the NL Central race going 17-9, while St. Louis (44-37) has allowed the gap for second to close to two games as they are 14-11 in June. Even the Pirates (41-39) have stayed hot on the Reds trail going 16-9 as well while the Cubs (34-44) also boast a winning record at 14-11.