Giants

Giants waste homers from Span and Belt, fall to Reds in San Francisco

Giants waste homers from Span and Belt, fall to Reds in San Francisco

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The way the Cincinnati Reds are going, comeback wins are no longer surprising. They're becoming the norm.

"I think when you're playing really well over an extended period of time you anticipate ways of coming back," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Somebody's going to get the big hit, somebody's going to hit one out, somebody's going to come in and make a great defensive play or shut down a rally."

Zack Cozart had two extra-base hits, including an RBI double in the top of the eighth inning that scored the game-winner, as the Cincinnati Reds defeated the San Francisco Giants 3-2 on Thursday night.

The Reds won for the ninth time in 11 games and have won 15 of their last 20 games at AT&T Park going back to the 2012 NLDS.

"I know we're feeling good now," Price said. "It's a long season, we'll like most teams continue to have some ups and downs, but right now you want to ride this as long as you can. It's a nice place to be."

The Giants, meanwhile, are in the dumps.

The Giants lost despite a four-hit game from center fielder Denard Span in his first game since coming off the disabled list. The Giants, who have an MLB-worst 12-24 record, lost for the sixth time in seven games and for the 10th time in their last 12.

Cozart doubled to left center off Giants reliever Hunter Strickland (0-1) scoring Scooter Gennett, who tripled to right leading off the eighth inning.

"I feel like the team in general, we're coming through in situations like that," Cozart said. "Everyone's happy for each other no matter who comes through, you're winning in a different fashion night in and night out.

"It's been fun."

Wandy Peralta (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings and Reds closer Raisel Iglesias survived a white-knuckle ninth inning for his seventh save.

Reds starter Bronson Arroyo allowed two runs, six hits and one walk in six innings.

"It was the first time that I wanted to get back out after six innings, so I'm getting stronger," Arroyo said. "I'm just glad we pulled out the victory and the bullpen's been throwing fantastic."

Span went 4 for 5 with a home run and two doubles.

The Giants scored their only runs off Arroyo on home runs from Belt and Span.

Belt was hitless in 18 previous at-bats when he hit his fifth homer on the year, a shot to center off on an 84 mph cut fastball Arroyo left over the heart of the plate.

Span homered to right in the fifth to snap a 1-1 tie.

BLACH OUT

Giants starter Ty Blach remains winless in four starts after allowing two runs, five hits and one walk in seven innings. Blach had the worst outing of his career against the Reds on May 6, giving up 10 runs in three innings.

"We had such great effort from Ty," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He did a great job bouncing back from that last outing against these guys who beat him up pretty good. I was proud of him. It's a shame we couldn't give him a win with that job he did."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: Recalled RHP Lisalverto Bonilla from Triple-A Louisville to take RHP Rookie Davis' spot in the rotation. Davis was sent to Louisville to work on his mechanics. Bonilla will start Saturday's game against the Giants.

Giants: Crawford (right groin strain) and Span (shoulder joint sprain) were activated from the DL. . The Giants optioned RHP Reyes Moronta back to Double-A Richmond and placed IF Conor Gillaspie on the 10-day DL with back spasms.

UP NEXT

RHP Johnny Cueto (4-2, 4.50 ERA) is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA for the Reds in two starts against his former team. He will be opposed by RHP Scott Feldman (2-3, 3.76) in a rematch of Sunday's game in which he outdueled the two-time All-Star, tossing a four-hitter in a 4-0 Reds victory.

Manny Machado doesn't fit with Giants even if they clear infield space

Manny Machado doesn't fit with Giants even if they clear infield space

SAN FRANCISCO -- Around the country, MLB executives are currently having the debate. Is Manny Machado worth $300 million? Is he a better bet than Bryce Harper? Should we be wary of a player who had a postseason filled with questionable decisions, and openly admits that he isn't big on hustling? 

The Giants won't be having any of these discussions. 

They are one of the few big-market organizations out on Machado -- the star shortstop/third baseman -- from the start, and not because of financial concerns. 

Machado's preference is to play shortstop, and the Giants have a homegrown three-time Gold Glove Award winner who is signed through 2021 and is one of the franchise's cornerstones. Oh, and just in case you were tempted to try and get creative, Brandon Crawford has a full no-trade clause.

Machado probably should move back to third, where he was one of the best defensive talents the game has seen. At shortstop, he was simply passable, according to metrics and scouts. Even at third base, though, he is blocked in San Francisco. Evan Longoria had a down year, but he is signed through 2022, and that's a contract that is not easy to move. 

It's here that we should stop and acknowledge the most interesting part of the Machado/Giants conversation. He isn't a fit, but when the Giants hired Farhan Zaidi, multiple people familiar with his past work noted that one of his first orders of business will be to try and get out from under some contracts. One predicted outright that he will find a way to ultimately trade Longoria's contract. The more likely targets early on will be Brandon Belt and Jeff Samardzija, if the latter can prove he's healthy. 

Sound unlikely? The Dodgers swapped bad salaries with the Braves a year ago and managed to stumble upon an All-Star season from Matt Kemp in the process. 

None of this makes Machado any more likely to wear orange and black. If Zaidi is able to find takers for some big contracts, he won't turn around and hand another player $300 million. He'll be looking for breathing room and flexibility. 

Machado will take up the biggest chunk of someone's budget moving forward, but even if the Giants had an open spot on their infield, Zaidi would likely back away. Don't forget what he said about the Giants' roster construction on the day he was introduced. 

"The number one thing that stands out to me is the importance of selfless play in baseball," he said. "We're in a baseball culture at an amateur level where there's a little bit of a showcase culture and a lot of emphasis on individual performance over the team. I think when you can create a culture where players put team over the individual, that can be a competitive advantage."

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Wednesday is dedicated to free agent infielder Manny Machado.

White Sox free-agent focus: Manny Machado

Despite flaws, Manny Machado's talent still worth betting on for Phillies

MLB free agency debate: Where will Michael Brantley sign this offseason?

MLB free agency debate: Where will Michael Brantley sign this offseason?

Editor's note: Each day this week, Giants insider Alex Pavlovic and A's reporter Ben Ross will debate where one of the top five free agents might land this offseason. Tuesday's free agent to discuss is Michael Brantley, an three-time All-Star outfielder who has spent his entire career with the Cleveland Indians.

ALEX: Ben, yesterday we went right to the top of the market and discussed Bryce Harper. If you're looking for outfield help -- and a lot of teams are -- it gets kind of sketchy after Harper.

Andrew McCutchen still is a good player, but he's no longer an MVP candidate. A.J. Pollock has had a ton of injury issues. Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and others are really getting up there in age. But I'm intrigued by Michael Brantley, who has never really lived up to the hype because of his own injuries. If you're looking for a guy who has a moderate amount of pop and gets on base at a high rate -- hellooooo, Giants -- he could be your guy.

BEN: He might be a great fit for the Giants, but the A’s already have enough outfielders, for a fraction of the cost. What have you heard about the Giants’ interest in Brantley? Where else do you think he could end up?

ALEX: I haven't heard anything concrete regarding their interest, but I think he's an interesting case. On one hand, they've been burned over and over again by giving money to position players -- particularly outfielders -- in their 30s. But they also have two corner outfield spots open and desperately need established hitters.

Brantley, who has always been a good OBP guy, would fit in that respect. Perhaps Farhan Zaidi can pull a Chris Taylor or Max Muncy out of another organization, but if Brantley's price drops, he could be a fill-in for a couple of seasons.

I wonder if he'll end up with a team that missed out on Harper and still has that need. The Phillies could fit there. The Braves have been a rumored destination. Maybe the White Sox? Who am I missing?

BEN: I think he makes a lot of sense in San Francisco. As you mentioned, he has a great career OBP with decent power and speed. It looks like he'll probably get around $15 million per year, which is reasonable for a back-to-back All-Star.

I think the Phillies and Braves both make a lot of sense, especially if Philadelphia doesn't land Bryce Harper. Maybe the Nationals if Harper leaves? He also could be a nice A.J. Pollock replacement in Arizona, although Pollock plays center. How about the Rockies? Both Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra are free agents.

ALEX: It sounds like the Diamondbacks are rebuilding, and I think the Rockies need to spend that money elsewhere. This feels like a #MysteryTeam situation, but in the end, I'll go with a safe prediction.

I think Brantley ends up with the Braves as a Nick Markakis replacement, but the twist will be that it'll be a shorter deal. I don't believe the talk that last year's free agency dip was a one-year thing. I think the second tier of veterans again will struggle to get those long-term deals, so I'll put Brantley down for a two-year, $32 million deal. What's your call?

BEN: It sounds like the Braves are pushing hard for Brantley, so they're my prediction, too. As you said, they need a Markakis replacement. Brantley played his college ball at Coastal Carolina University, which isn't too far from Atlanta. While he's been a bit injury-prone, he's still just 31 years old. I'll say he gets three years, $45 million.

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Tuesday is dedicated to free agent outfielder Michael Brantley.
How Brantley could help solve one of the Giants' biggest issues
Why the outfielder-rich A's should pass on Brantley
Does Brantley really fit the White Sox's long-term plan?
Brantley should be far down on Red Sox's free agent list
Phillies should pursue Brantley if they whiff on Harper
Could signing Brantley soften blow of Nats losing Harper?