CINCINNATI (AP) — Upset with himself for striking out with two runners in scoring position, Jeff Samardzija snapped his bat over his left thigh while heading back to the dugout — an unusual show of frustration for a pitcher on his way to a win.
Samardzija went eight innings to win his third straight start — a career first — and the San Francisco Giants rallied for two runs in the eighth inning against Cincinnati’s historically bad bullpen for a 3-1 victory Tuesday night.
The Giants got a run in the first inning on consecutive doubles by Buster Posey and Hunter Pence with two outs. Posey had three of the Giants’ five doubles, extending his hitting streak to five games (9 for 17).
What will the Giants remember the most? Their starting pitcher’s bat snap.
“I think we all were stunned,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You don’t see a pitcher do that very often.
“The way it broke off, he looked like Herman Munster.”
Samardzija (4-1) was upset for stranding the two runners in scoring position when he could have padded the lead, and he took out his frustration on his bat.
“It’s stupid,” he said.
The bullpen has given up at least one run in each of the Reds’ last 21 games, surpassing the 2013 Colorado Rockies for the longest such streak in major league history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“It’s a challenge for the guys in the bullpen,” manager Bryan Price said. “It’s been a challenge to get on a roll.”
With the game tied 1-1, Kelby Tomlinson drove in the go-ahead run with an infield single off Caleb Cotham (0-1). Gregor Blanco followed with another run-scoring single, putting the Giants in position for their fifth straight win at Great American Ball Park.
Samardzija had been 0-5 in his last nine starts against the Reds, but limited them to three hits — including Adam Duvall’s homer — to end the slump. Santiago Casilla got the last three outs for his sixth save in eight chances.
The Reds came into the game with by far the worst bullpen in the majors, and watched it let another one get away.
The Reds activated left-hander John Lamb off the disabled list before the game to start for Jon Moscot, who has a sore non-throwing shoulder. Lamb had back surgery in December and had made three minor league rehab starts. Lamb gave up six hits in six innings.
Former Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto got a loud ovation from the crowd of 14,309 when he was shown in the Giants dugout about the first inning. The Reds traded Cueto to Kansas City last July.
Reliever Drew Hayes, who gave up Brandon Crawford’s three-run homer in the seventh inning of the Giants’ 9-6 win on Monday, was optioned to Triple-A Louisville to open a roster spot for Lamb.