It looked like doom and gloom for the Cincinnati Reds after the Giants put up a 4-spot in the top of the 2nd inning. Four consecutive hits by Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Brandon Crawford and Gregor Blanco were enough to rattle the cage of Cincinnati Starting Pitcher Anthony DeSclafani. That was only the beginning of the wild afternoon that was about to take place.
After Cincinnati answered back with a run of their own in the form of a Billy Hamilton Fielders Choice play to score Brandon Phillips, DeSclafani gave up a 2-run bomb to Pence in the top of the 3rd inning. This marked a score of 6-1 in favor of the Giants, but it was far from over. Following a 30 minute rain delay, Cincinnati came right back with a rally of its own. Catcher Brayan Peña led off the inning with a base hit into Left Field. Joey Votto was then hit by a 3-1 pitch from Giants Starting Pitcher Chris Heston. Following the misguided Heston pitch, Reds Third Baseman Todd Frazier added a little base knock of his own to load the bases for Left Fielder Marlon Byrd. Byrd then flared a hit into shallow center field for an RBI to close to gap by a run to 6-2.
The next at-bat, Second Baseman Brandon Phillips was hit by another errant Heston pitch. This chased in from third base to cut the deficit by another run, thus loading the bases for the struggling slugger, Jay Bruce. On a 2-1 pitch Bruce appeared to hit what was almost a go-ahead grand slam. Unfortunately for the Reds, the ball bounced off the top of the wall. Given the fact that there were also no outs in the inning, runners Frazier, Byrd and Phillips could only go half way, causing only Frazier to cross the plate. It was a very loud and long RBI single.
The inning slowed from there on. Hamilton had a sacrifice fly to right field, followed by pop outs from DeSclafani and Reds Short Stop Zack Cozart. However, damage was done and the Reds were within one at 6-5. This marked the end of the game for Heston, who finished with 2.0+ IP, 7H and 5ER. Likewise, DeSclafani’s day was near an end as well. Both teams now working out of the bullpen in the 4th, Raisel Iglesias for Cincinnati and Yusmeiro Petit for San Fransisco, went quietly offensively. However, things kicked up again in the 5th when both teams traded blows. The Giants lead off the inning with a Crawford double. He would eventually come around to score on a Matt Duffy one-out single to Center Field.
The 5th inning for the Reds had some good luck, and some bad. Phillips drove a 1-1 pitch into the first row of seats into Left Center Field to bring the score to 7-6. Hamilton, hitting 8th today, then lined a 3-2 pitch just over the out stretched hand of Crawford into shallow Left Center for a base hit. Excitement buzzed through Great American Ball Park once the MLB leader in stolen bases reached first base. However, this is when the bit of bad luck kicked in. Pinch hitting for DeSclafani was utility man Skip Schumaker. Early in the at -bat, Schumaker jumped all over a Petit pitch and gapped it into Right Center Field. With the speedster Hamilton rounding third base and without a doubt going to score, the ball bounced over the Right Center Field wall for a Ground Rule Double, and Hamilton would have to return to third base; only to be stranded by a Cozart pop up to the pitcher.
After both teams failed to cross the plate in the 6th inning, both scored one run in each of the next two innings. Crawford led off the 7th with a walk, and would be driven in by a smart play by Giants Left Fielder Nori Aoki. With two outs in the inning and runners on the corners, Aoki dropped a perfect bunt down third base. The only play that Frazier had was to rush a throw to the plate, which was to no avail. The Giants had again extended their lead by another run to go up 8-6.
The bottom of the 7th started out softly for the Reds. Byrd would ground out to third on the first pitch, the Philips would chase ball four and make just enough contact to ground out to short. With two outs and no one on, Bruce would bridge to gap a little bit closer with his 7th Homerun of the season off former Red, Jeremy Affeldt. This run would eventually be voided by a Belt Blast in the top of the 8th. That would be the last run that San Francisco would score in this game.
In the bottom of the inning, Kristopher Negrón would just miss getting a Homerun by lifting a fly ball to medium deep Left Field. Cozart would then ground out softly to first base to record the second out of the inning. This is where if things were not strange enough, they were about to get crazier. Peña would draw a walk on a 3-1 pitch which would bring Votto to the plate. On another 3-1 pitch Votto would flare one into shallow Left Field. Aoki would fall to his knees to try and trap the ball, only to have it bounce over his head. Crawford came all the way out from Short Stop to field the ball out in Left Field. At this point Crawford collected the loose ball and fired it to third base, where Peña was headed. The throw hit Peña in the helmet and caromed over into the camera well, giving each runner an additional two bases because it was a throwing error from the outfield.
Peña crossed home plate to bring the Reds within one run yet again. Votto who was pulling into third as the ball was dropping into the third base side camera well, was thought to have initially been rewarded home plate. However, because he had not reached second base by the time Crawford released the throw from Left Field, the two bases he was awarded counted for second base and third base. He was then stranded for the Reds 14th runner left on base.
Aroldis Chapman would then come in for the Reds in the 9th. He would strike out the first two batters he faced in Blanco and Duffy. The inning became tense when Casey McGehee came off the bench for a pinch hit single into Right Field. Aoki would then add a single of his own, just in time for Chapman to plunk Joe Panik with a pitch to load the bases. The threat would be ended with Buster Posey popping up to Phillips.
Santiago Casilla would then come on for the save attempt. He struck out the side (Byrd, Phillips and Bruce) to end the game with a final score of 9-8 in favor of the San Francisco Giants. This was their third straight win over the Reds during the 4 game series in Cincinnati after losing the first game 4-3.