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 acquire Connor Joe, who has shot at making Opening Day roster

Giants acquire Connor Joe, who has shot at making Opening Day roster

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants swapped out a Rule 5 pick who wasn't going to make the team for one who now very well might. 

Drew Ferguson, an outfielder picked up from the Houston Astros in the Rule 5 Draft, was designated for assignment Thursday to clear a roster spot for Connor Joe, a utility man who was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds. Joe is under the same restrictions, and given that the Giants picked him up one week from Opening Day, there seems a good chance that Farhan Zaidi will try to tuck the former Dodgers prospect onto the roster. 

Joe, 26, has moved all over throughout his minor league career, primarily playing first base, third and the outfield. As a right-handed bat with a .363 career OBP in the minors, he fits a lot of what the Giants are looking for on their bench. That also could lead to some interesting decisions next week. 

The Giants already were trying to decide how to squeeze Yangervis Solarte, Alen Hanson and Pablo Sandoval on the roster, with the latter two looking like tough calls. They also could try to put Joe in the outfield mix, perhaps at the expense of a player like Mac Williamson or Cameron Maybin. 
Joe had a .935 OPS with 17 homers in Double-A and Triple-A for the Dodgers organization last season. He was the sixth player selected in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings, and hit .275 this spring for the Reds. 

[RELATED: Five reasons to be optimistic about the 2019 Giants]

The Giants had hoped Ferguson would fill these holes, but he had a poor spring and was not in position to make the club. The Giants would have had to offer him back to the Astros next week, with very little hope of keeping him in their system. 

To acquire Joe, the Giants traded minor league right-hander Jordan Johnson and cash considerations to the Reds. Johnson had a 4.37 ERA in 86 minor league appearances for the Giants. 

Brandon Belt putting up exceptional numbers for Giants at plate in spring

Brandon Belt putting up exceptional numbers for Giants at plate in spring

Before I start this post ...

I know ... "spring training stats don't matter." But Brandon Belt is hitting the you-know-what out of the ball right now in the Cactus League, and going 9-for-9 isn't something that should be ignored -- even during games that don't count.

Now that we got that out of the way ... 

Baseball Reference is one of the few sites that has spring training stats, so shout out to them. And this is what Belt is working with as we head into Opening Day.

A .485/.553/.818 line with three home runs and six RBI in 13 games. 

Not bad ... not bad at all.

And he seems to be having fun despite a small mishap cutting half of his eyebrow off prior to Photo Day, but who hasn't done that?