Following two days of poor results against a bad ballclub, the SF Giants were in need of a bounce-back performance to avoid getting swept in embarrassing fashion.
Friday night, the Giants were upended, 5-1, by the National League Central cellar-dwelling Cincinnati Reds. Saturday was closer, as Alex Wood survived a three-run first inning to pitch into the sixth and the pitching staff didn't allow any more Reds to cross the plate, but the Orange and Black bats came up empty time and again in crucial situations: San Francisco hammered 12 hits against five Reds pitchers, but they scored only two runs and saw Joey Bart get thrown out at the plate on a Wilmer Flores single to end the game.
For the first seven innings Sunday it looked like more of the same, as the Giants were stymied by Cincinnati Reds right-hander Tyler Mahle. Their first hit came in the seventh on a two-out double by Thairo Estrada, and by that point they were already trailing, 2-0.
SF Giants put up six runs in the eighth
The eighth inning, luckily, was a different story. Tommy La Stella doubled in between a strikeout and groundout, and Flores drew a full-count walk to keep the inning alive. Joc Pederson greeted a new pitcher with a run-scoring single to get the Giants on the board, and Evan Longoria continued his recent hot streak with a three-run blast in a full count to give the visitors their first lead of the series.
The Giants weren't done, and as it turned out they'd need the extra runs. Brandon Crawford began a new rally with a walk in another full count, Estrada singled and Luis Gonzalez doubled to bring both across for a 6-2 advantage.
The host Reds, already double-digit games back of first place in their division, put a pair of runners on with no one out in the bottom of the eighth, but Tyler Rogers induced a double play and then a lineout to get out of the jam.
In the ninth, Camilo Doval allowed a two-out, two-run home run to cut the Giants lead to 6-4, but he got a flyout from the next hitter to end the game.
Alex Cobb turned in a very good start, giving up just two runs on four hits in six innings while striking out eight, but John Brebbia earned the victory with scoreless seventh inning before the Giants took the lead.
With the win, the Giants remained 7.5 games behind NL West division-leading Los Angeles. San Francisco was within three games of first place just over a week and a half ago, but a 3-7 stretch in the last 10 games has seen them fall further behind.