The Giants lost to the Reds, 7-1. But the important thing to remember is that they weren’t no-hit. I know that the seven hits listed in the box score may fool you into thinking that wasn’t an issue in this game, but I assure you that it was. Additionally, they weren’t shut out! I mean, overall, that’s about the best you could have hoped for today.
In a game that came after a closed door meeting between Bruce Bochy and the Giants’ offense, you should almost expect an outcome like this. Because this offense is stubborn and doesn’t like to be told what to do.
That might be a little unfair in this game, as the blame goes both ways. Madison Bumgarner had a final line of six innings pitched, six runs scored, five earned, on eight hits and two walks with six strike outs.
/runs the numbers
Yeah, it’s hard to win games when your starting pitcher gives up that many runs. Especially if your offense has only scored two runs in 18 innings of this series.
Tonight was the worst start of Bumgarner’s season, which ended up being surprising because he looked sharp early on. After a six pitch first inning and two more scoreless innings of work, it looked like an unexpected pitcher’s duel. Unexpected because the opposing pitcher was Matt Harvey.
And then in the shock of the night, Harvey won. He no-hit the Giants through five innings, after Joe Panik reached on an error in the fourth and Posey walked. The runners both advanced on a questionable balk call, but of course, neither scored.
Bumgarner came back out for the fourth inning and gave up a lead-off home run to José Peraza, who scored two of the Reds’ seven runs tonight. Next up was Scooter Gennett, who hit a single (on his way to being 3-for-4 on the night with three runs scored) followed by a double from Tucker Barnhart, where Gennett was held. With runners at second and third, Brandon Dixon hit a broken bat double to score them both and give the Reds a 3-0 lead.
And then the fun really started in the bottom of the fifth. With Peraza and Gennett on base, Bumgarner walked Eugenio Suárez to load the bases. Phillip Ervin hit a sacrifice fly that scored Peraza easily, then center fielder Steven Duggar threw directly to the plate, where it got away from Buster Posey and allowed Gennett to score on a throwing error, increasing the Reds’ lead to 5-0.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, Panik broke up the no-hit bid for real, this time on an infield single. Posey followed that with a single of his own. And then Brandon Belt flied out to end the inning. And so it goes, ever on and on in this game, with the Giants having ample opportunity to score, and not doing so.
Bumgarner gave up another lead off home run in the bottom of the inning, this time to Dilson Herrerra. Then he pitched a clean inning. Because of course he did.
In the top of the seventh, the Giants had runners on the corners and one out, when Duggar was pulled for Gorkys Hernández, who flied out. Then Bumgarner was pulled for Hunter Pence, who grounded out to end the inning and strand ever more base runners.
Hunter Strickland, who was re-activated today from the disabled list after breaking his own hand a few weeks ago, came in to pitch the seventh inning. He allowed a double to Gennett and a single to Suárez who knocked him in for the Reds’ seventh run of the night.
Andrew McCutchen singled to kick off the top of the eighth inning. So did Panik, and Posey was walked to load the bases with no outs. Which should have brought up Brandon Belt with bases loaded and no outs which is one of my favorite sentences in baseball.
And then Bochy pulled Belt for Austin Slater. There’s two ways to take that, either Belt has something going on medically speaking, perhaps related to the leg contusion he just returned from the disabled list for. Or, Bochy trusted Slater for the match-up there. Either way, it wasn’t good. The Reds’ immediately made a pitching change to counter, and Slater struck out.
Just as all seemed lost and a shutout inevitable, as Evan Longoria appeared to have hit into an inning ending double play that would have made me laugh and sob simultaneously, Longoria beat out the play at first. Allowing McCutchen’s run to score before the inning ended on a Brandon Crawford strikeout.
That was the best opportunity the Giants had to score in the entire game. And they could only manage one. The Reds had seven runs on 11 hits. The Giants, just one run on seven hits. That’s...not ideal. Nor is it fun baseball to watch, or play, I would imagine.
Perhaps Bruce Bochy should try a new strategy of pointedly ignoring the offensive players tomorrow just to see if that works better than the closed door meetings.