In a battle of Aces, Johnny Cueto and the Cincinnati Reds got the best of Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants 6-2. Cueto almost pitched his 4th complete game of the season, but came up just short throwing 8.1 innings of quality baseball and Aroldis Champman closed it out in the 9th for his 16th save this season.
Cueto dominated the Giants all night but it wan’t his usual strikeout that did the trick. Cueto only allowed 3 hits and of the 25 outs recorded against him, only 3 were strikeouts. It was the 15 ground ball outs that were his best friend tonight.
This game started out kind of quirky. Madison Bumgarner picked off 2 Reds in the 1st inning. After holding speedster Billy Hamilton off the bases in their last meeting, Bumgarner allowed a leadoff single to left field. Then he picked Hamilton off. Todd Frazier was at the plate and he then hit an infield single to reach first. Brandon Phillips struck out swinging and then with Jay Bruce at the plate, Bumgarner picked off Frazier too.
Both pitchers pounded the strike zone and cruised through the first few innings. Through 3 innings, neither pitcher had thrown 10 pitches out of the strike zone.
The Reds broke through against Bumgarner in the top of the 5th inning. The bottom of the Reds batting order really got it started. Hot hitting Devin Mesoraco led off the inning with a hard hit double into the corner in left field. It was an impressive swing as Mesoraco was able to pull his hands in and get the bat head on an inside pitch. No wonder that guy has been hitting the cover off the ball lately.
Chris Heisey fisted a 1-out single over Brandon Crawford into left field and Mesoraco moved to third. Just like last night, there was Zack Cozart to drive i the Reds first run of the night. He singled up the middle to score Mesoraco and give the Reds a 1-0 lead.
With runners on 1st and 2nd Reds pitcher Cueto was called upon to sacraifice bunt. He dropped one in front of the plate and Buster Posey threw to 3rd base to try to get the lead runner Heisey. He was safe there and Cueto was safe at 1st, beating Pablo Sandoval‘s throw across the diamond.
It was a questionable decision to throw to 3rd base by Posey with 1 out. Had he just gotten the out at 1st it would have been 2 outs in the inning with a chance for Bumgarner to get out of it. But that’s not what hapened and the inning got out of hand.
The Reds as a team were hitting .373 with the bases loaded heading in to this game, the best in the majors. Billy Hamilton fell right in line parachuting a bloop single in front of Hunter Pence to score 2 and make it a 3-0 game.
The lead grew to 5-0 after a solid base hit to center by Todd Frazier and then a 2-out single to right field off the bat of Jay Bruce. Mesoraco finally ended the inning by popping out. In just the 5th inning the Reds sent 10 batters to the plate, had 6 hits, and scored 5 runs.
The Giants pushed across their runs in the 6th inning on a Tyler Colvin triple to the alley to drive in Brandon Hicks who had led off with a walk. Hunter Pence then drove Colvin in with an RBI groundout. Colvin’s triple was the Giants major league leading 23rd this season.