CINCINNATI (CBS / AP) — Bruce Bochy is looking for a spark but finding it to be elusive.
Giants starter Barry Zito left the game after Shin-Soo Choo and Zack Cozart singled to put runners on the corners to open the fifth inning. Jose Mijares struck out Joey Votto, and George Kontos struck out Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce to get out of the inning with the Giants trailing, 1-0.
“We had a good effort from our bullpen,” Bochy said.
In their first game since being held hitless by Homer Bailey on Tuesday, the Giants needed just two batters to remove any doubt. Tony Abreu, San Francisco’s No. 2 hitter against Tony Cingrani, reached second base with a bloop double down the right-field line for the Giants’ first hit in 11 innings since Brandon Belt led off the fifth with a home run in an 8-1, six-inning loss to the Reds on Monday.
The Giants took their first lead of the series in the fifth when Blanco drew a two-out walk and Abreu followed with a 442-foot blast into the upper deck in left field on Cingrani’s 1-1 pitch. The homer was Abreu’s first since last Sept. 16 for Kansas City against the Angels.
After that the Giants had just three hits over the last six innings but stranded eight runners.
“We couldn’t get a hit with men in scoring position,” Bochy said. “We have too many guys scuffling. I don’t know why, whether they are pressing or trying too hard. I wish I had the answer. It seems like we’ve been saying this for quite awhile. We need someone to give us a spark and get a big hit.”
Chris Heisey, on the disabled list from April 29 to June 25 with a strained right hamstring, tied the game with a 422-foot solo homer into the left field seats on a one-strike pitch from Kontos. The homer was Heisey’s third of the season and first since April 23 against the Cubs in Cincinnati.
“It seemed like Heisey had no interest in the fastball. It was a slider low and away. Unfortunately, it didn’t bounce. He hit it off his front foot and it carried. It is definitely frustrating,” Kontos said.
Shin-Soo Choo’s two-out single in the 11th inning drove in Todd Frazier from second base, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-2 win over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.
Frazier walked to lead off the 11th against Javier Lopez (1-1) and went to second on Chris Heisey’s sacrifice. After Devin Mesoraco was intentionally walked, pinch-hitter Ryan Hanigan popped out before Choo came up with the hit that gave the Reds three straight wins for the first time since June 10-12 against the Cubs.
The spiraling Giants have lost nine of their last 10 games.
The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the second, which Zito opened by hitting Bruce with a pitch. Bruce went to third on Todd Frazier’s single to center field and scored on Heisey’s sacrifice fly.
Zito pitched four innings, allowing seven hits and a walk.
“It was like a playoff game,” Zito said. “I got that sense. We were playing for that one win to get us started. It was a good night for our bullpen. I put them in a tough situation by only going four innings. My pitch count was high. I have to start getting more action in three pitches. I got too deep in counts.”
J.J. Hoover (2-5), Cincinnati’s seventh pitcher of the game, struck out four batters in two innings for the win.
Cingrani, making his eighth start of the season and first since Johnny Cueto went on the disabled list June 29 with a strained lat muscle, allowed four hits and two runs with four walks and five strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings. His walks were a single-game career high as a starter.
Notes: Heisey made his first start in the field since coming off the disabled list on June 25. Heisey started at designated hitter in one game each at Texas and Oakland on Cincinnati’s last road trip. … The sellout crowd that showed up for Frazier’s bobblehead night and postgame fireworks was Cincinnati’s ninth of the season. The team had a club-record 15 last season. … Tightness in Marco Scutaro’s back prompted Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy to give the second baseman Wednesday night off. … RHP Matt Cain is scheduled to start for San Francisco against RHP Mike Leake in Thursday’s finale of the four-game series.
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