CINCINNATI (CBS / AP) — The Reds roughed up Johnny Cueto in his return to Great American Ball Park, but the San Francisco Giants rallied against Cincinnati’s historically bad bullpen, riding Brandon Crawford’s three-run homer to a 9-6 victory Monday night.
Joey Votto hit a three-run homer as the Reds piled up six runs in the third inning off Cueto, who got a warm welcome from his former teammates and fans before the game. It was Cueto’s worst showing since he gave up eight runs during Kansas City’s 11-8 loss at Toronto in the AL Championship Series last season.
The Reds’ bullpen tied a dubious record while letting a 6-3 lead slip away.
Brandon Belt and Gregor Blanco singled in runs off J.C. Ramirez (0-2) in the seventh. Crawford connected off Drew Hayes for his third homer and an 8-6 lead.
It was the 22nd homer allowed by Reds relievers in 26 games, by far the most in the majors. Crawford added an RBI single in the ninth.
It also was the 20th straight game in which Cincinnati’s bullpen has given up at least one run, tying the 2013 Rockies for longest such streak in the majors since 1900, according to information from the Reds provided by the Elias Sports Bureau.
Vin Mazzaro (1-0) retired two batters. Santiago Casilla retired the side in the ninth for his fifth save in seven chances.
Manager Bryan Price and numerous Reds players embraced Cueto during batting practice. Most of the 13,829 fans applauded as he took the mound in Cincinnati for the first time since the Reds traded him to Kansas City last July, the start of Cincinnati’s rebuild. Cueto signed a $130 million, six-year deal with the Giants in the offseason.
Cueto came to bat with the bases loaded in the second inning and singled home a pair of runs off Brandon Finnegan, but the right-hander couldn’t hold an early three-run lead.
The Reds sent 11 batters to the plate for six runs in the third. Billy Hamilton doubled home the first run, Votto hit his third homer, and Jay Bruce had an RBI triple. The Reds put together three singles, two walks, a double, a triple, a homer and a stolen base during the inning.