For the past week, the SF Giants have mostly been locked into tight ballgames with one pitch or swing of the bat changing the entire complexion. That trend continued in the first game of their home series with the Cincinnati Reds on Friday, where the Giants dropped a 4-2 result to the worst team in the National League.
Saturday it appeared the Orange and Black was ready to shed the tough games, as they hammered the lowly Reds for a 9-2 win.
However, Sunday afternoon everything reversed. Starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani was rocked for seven runs in the third inning and the offense was shut down for much of the contest as the Giants dropped the finale by a 10-3 score, their second series loss to the Reds this season.
The first two innings passed without much incident, with both teams going down in order in the first inning and leaving a runner stranded in the second (in the Giants' case, they couldn't capitalize on a Joc Pederson leadoff double).
After a leadoff single in the third it appeared DeSclafani, just activated from the Injured List, might escape unscathed. But a two-out triple followed by another hit put two runs on the board.
Close call by familiar umpire goes against SF Giants
The key moment came the next pitch after the second run-scoring hit, as Reds cleanup hitter Joey Votto chopped a ball that Brandon Belt gloved in front of the bag for an easy putout to apparently end the inning.
Not so fast, said first base umpire Gabe Morales (the same ump whose egregious checked-swing call ended the Giants' 2021 season in the NL Division Series) as the ball was foul in his eyes. Being a foul call before the bag, it was unreviewable (fair/foul calls past the bases and down the lines are reviewable) and went as a foul ball.
The next pitch was smoked by Votto to straightaway right field, and with Mike Yastrzemski playing off the line Votto was able to get to second with a double. Yastrzemski also made a mistake by throwing to second base, when hitting the cutoff man could have meant a legitimate shot to get Tommy Pham, running from first base, at the plate.
Pham scoring made it 3-0, and DeSclafani fell apart in a hurry. He walked Donovan Solano on four pitches, allowed a ground-rule double and seeing-eye single and was pulled from the game. Reliever Yunior Marte allowed a pair of hits to score the final run of the inning, also charged to the starter, before a runner caught stealing mercifully ended the frame.
The hosts were unable to respond in the third, but Yastrzemski homered in the fourth. By the time they scored again, the Reds led 10-1 after a three-run fifth; the final two Giants runs came on RBI singles by Darin Ruf and Thairo Estrada in the seventh.
After gaining a game on the rest of the NL West counterparts on Saturday, the Giants lost it back in relation to division-leading Los Angeles and are now 6.5 back of the Dodgers.
San Francisco has a day off Monday before welcoming the Detroit Tigers in to Oracle Park for a two-game series beginning Tuesday.