Freefalling Giants shut out by Reds' Feldman, swept in Cincinnati

Freefalling Giants shut out by Reds' Feldman, swept in Cincinnati


CINCINNATI -- Scott Feldman used every bit of his diplomatic and lobbying skills to earn a chance for those last three outs.

The right-hander talked his way into pitching one more inning despite a high pitch count. He made quick work of the San Francisco Giants in the ninth, finishing off a four-hitter for a 4-0 victory on Sunday that gave the Cincinnati Reds a series sweep.

When he reached the dugout after the eighth inning, Feldman (2-3) went to work on manager Bryan Price and asked for one more inning even though he'd already thrown more than 100 pitches.

"I asked if it was negotiable," Feldman said. "It usually isn't. I could see the finish line was so close. The adrenaline was pumping."

Feldman retired the side in order in the ninth for his third career shutout and his first since 2014 with Houston. It was Cincinnati's first complete game of the season.

"I was pumped to see him go out for the ninth," shortstop Zack Cozart said. "You rarely get a chance to see a complete-game shutout anymore."

The Giants have seen a lot of that already. They were shut out for the fourth time, tied with the White Sox for most in the majors. They were outscored 31-5 while getting swept in a three-game series against Cincinnati for the first time since 2013.

"He was good, but to be honest, it's hard to say how good because, boy, we've really struggled here with the bats," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Score five runs in a three-game series? I didn't see that coming."

Feldman was only 1-5 in six career starts against the Giants going into this game. He easily handled a slumping lineup, striking out five, walking one and hitting a batter while throwing 119 pitches.

Scott Schebler and Zack Cozart homered off Johnny Cueto (4-2), who was the Reds' ace for eight seasons. In two starts against them since being traded in 2015, he has given up 10 runs in 12 innings. He struck out a season-high 10 and allowed six hits during seven innings while taking this loss.

"It looked like we never got off the plane, the way we were playing," Bochy said. "These things are hard to explain. I wish I had a magic button. But we'd better figure it out here soon."

The Giants have struggled in all aspects while dropping four of their last five games. Shortstop Christian Arroyo booted Billy Hamilton's grounder to open the Reds' first - San Francisco's eighth error in seven games. Hamilton scored on Eugenio Suarez's single. Scooter Gennett added an RBI single in the inning.

Schebler hit his ninth homer, and Cozart's second of the season made it 4-0 in the fifth.

Billy Hamilton tripled for the third consecutive game. The last Reds player to do it was Deion Sanders in 1997.

Cueto recorded double-digit strikeouts for the 14th time in his career and the fourth with the Giants. Cueto has fanned 10 or more batters eight times at Great American Ball Park, the most by any pitcher.

"I already know how it's like to pitch here," he said through a translator. "I felt that the mound kind of changed a little bit. It was flatter."

Cozart went deep into the hole at shortstop to get Cueto's grounder and throw him out to end the fifth inning, preventing a run. Giants center fielder Gorkys Hernandez made a diving catch of Jose Peraza's fly to the gap in the sixth inning.

The Reds optioned RH starter Amir Garrett to Triple-A Louisville and called up RH Barrett Astin, giving themselves another reliever.

Giants: SS Brandon Crawford ran and took groundballs without problem on Sunday. He'll play six innings for Double-A Richmond on Monday as part of a rehab stint. Crawford has been sidelined since April 26 because of a strained groin.

Reds: LF Adam Duvall got a day out of the lineup, with Gennett starting in his place. Duvall came in as a defensive replacement in the eighth.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore (1-4) gave up a career-high nine earned runs in 3 1/3 innings during a 13-5 loss at Dodger Stadium last Tuesday. He faces Jacob deGrom (1-2) in the opener of a three-game series against the Mets in New York.

Reds: Rookie Davis (1-1) faces his former organization when the Reds open a two-game series against the Yankees. Masahiro Tanaka (4-1) starts for New York.

Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants moved closer to setting their opening day roster on Monday when they made a significant round of cuts to their spring training roster. 

A total of 15 players were reassigned or optioned, bringing the total to 31 players remaining in camp. Many of the players cut Monday entered the spring competing for jobs. 

In the outfield, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater were optioned to Triple-A and Chris Shaw was reassigned to minor league camp. Williamson had a huge spring and was the likeliest of the trio to push for an opening day spot, but he'll start his year in the minors. Steven Duggar was not among the cuts, and he remains an option to make the team, with the Giants also looking at Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker for backup spots. Hernandez and Parker are out of minor league options. 

Tyler Beede was optioned and Andrew Suarez was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving three players vying for the final two rotation spots. Ty Blach and Chris Stratton have been the favorites all along, although both struggled the last time out and Derek Holland has had a strong spring. 

Both backup catchers -- Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez -- were reassigned, along with Orlando Calixte, who saw time in the big leagues last year. Joan Gregorio, Jose Valdez, Justin O'Conner and Kyle Jensen were also reassigned. Chase d'Arnaud, who appeared to be making a strong push, was on the list, too, leaving Josh Rutledge as the only competition for Kelby Tomlinson for the final infield spot. 

Finally, Derek Law and Roberto Gomez were optioned to Triple-A. Josh Osich remains and appears the frontrunner for a bullpen job. Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 pick, also remains in camp. 

The Giants break camp on Friday.

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

PEORIA — Jeff Samardzija spent a couple minutes after Thursday’s start talking to reporters about how deep he thinks the Giants lineup can be. It’ll be a hell of a lot deeper if Hunter Pence keeps hitting like this. 

After a slow start to the spring, Pence is charging. He had three hits against the Padres: a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center, a hard single up the middle, and a double to center. The more encouraging plays for the Giants happened in left field. Pence chased down a drive to the line in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. He opened the fourth by going the other direction and gloving a fly ball to left-center. 

"A good game for Hunter, both ways," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's getting more comfortable out there. You can see it with the jumps he's getting right now. It takes a little while when you change positions, but I think he's going to be fine out there."

The Giants appear set to have Austin Jackson and Pence atop the lineup against left-handed starters, and that duo could see plenty of time early. Seven of the first nine games are against the Dodgers, who have four lefty starters. 

--- Evan Longoria had a double off the right-center wall on Wednesday after missing a week with a sore ankle. He had a single the same way in his second at-bat Thursday. More than the at-bats, Longoria has impressed with his soft hands and steady arm at third. The ankle looks fine, too. 

“My ankle feels pretty good,” Longoria said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.”

--- It’s been a quiet spring for Andrew McCutchen, but we saw the wheels tonight. McCutchen easily stole second after a two-run single in the fifth. When Evan Longoria bounced one to the left side, shortstop Freddy Galvis tried to go to third for the lead out, but McCutchen beat that throw, too. He got up and put his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Why'd you even try that?"

--- Samardzija allowed three homers in a six-batter span in the third. He allowed three homers in an inning in his previous start, too, but he said he’s not concerned. Samardzija deemed it a sequencing issue. He’s working in a new changeup and threw it in situations he normally wouldn’t; Eric Hosmer took advantage of a floating one, crushing it to deep, deep right for the third homer. 

--- With a runner on, Brandon Belt put down a perfect bunt to foil the shift. Belt does that every spring, particularly against NL West teams, but rarely during the regular season. Maybe this will be the year?

Belt later crushed a homer to deep right. That had to feel good for a number of reasons. Belt is fighting a cold and he learned earlier in the day that his college coach, Augie Garrido, had passed away.