What we learned as Giants shut down by Reds rookie in loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO -- Tommy Pham got all of the attention leading up to Friday's game at Oracle Park, but it was Reds rookie Graham Ashcraft who proved to be the much bigger problem for the Giants.
Ashcraft dominated the Giants in Cincinnati last month and he was even better Friday, mixing 99 mph cutters and 97 mph sinkers over eight strong innings. When the Giants finally got the righty out of the game, former Giant Hunter Strickland shut them down. With a 4-2 loss, the Giants fell to 1-3 against a Reds team that is one of the worst in baseball.
The lineup was lifeless for most of the night, but back-to-back singles got the crowd going in the eighth inning. Tommy La Stella came up as the tying run but bounced into a crushing double play. After Mike Yastrzemski cut the deficit to two runs, Darin Ruf flied out to deep center field.
Strickland came on for the ninth and worked around a walk for his third save of the year.
Here are the takeaways as the Giants fall to 38-32 this season:
In his first appearance against the Giants since the most famous slap in baseball history, Pham was loudly booed every time he came to the plate. The Giants didn't throw at him, but they handed him another form of revenge.
Pham went 0-for-4, striking out and hitting three grounders, once of which was an inning-ending double play. He didn't get any action in left although he heard the "he's a bum" chant the whole night.
Pham turned around a few times to jaw back at fans in the bleachers and down the left field line and a couple of times he gestured to his jersey or gave a thumbs up. There was nothing too spicy, though. Perhaps this is finally over?
After he returned to the lineup May 11, it took a few games for Evan Longoria to find his rhythm. But when he did, he had one of the best power streaks of his career, hitting five homers over a five-game stretch at the end of month.
Since then, Longoria had gone 19 games without a homer, but he crushed a hanging slider in the fourth inning to cut the Reds' lead in half.
Longoria's sixth of the year landed in the home bullpen, but it was the only real jolt over the first seven innings. The homer was followed by five consecutive groundouts.
Luck Ain't Turning
Alex Cobb certainly didn't pitch well, but in what has become a theme for him this season, he didn't have any luck, either. Cobb was pulled with runners on the corners in the fifth and ended up allowing three runs -- two of them earned -- in 4 1/3 innings in his second start back from the IL.
The Reds scored two runs in the first with a rally that started when Kyle Farmer bounced a ball to short and Brandon Crawford's throw was wide. The play was ruled an infield single, but it's one Crawford generally makes.
In the fifth, a catcher's interference call put the leadoff runner on. After a walk, Cobb lost track of the runners and a double-steal put both in scoring position. Donovan Solano bounced one to shortstop but Crawford's throw to the plate was low and the Reds took a 3-1 lead.