Cincinnati Reds Mount Comeback, But Drop Series Opener to Giants


5. 40. . 3. 61

W: George Kontos (3-2)

L: Keyvius Sampson (2-5)

SV: Santiago Casilla (33)

West coast trips never seem to go well for the Cincinnati Reds. Their final Pacific time zone stop of the 2015 season started on a familiar note, as they fell to the San Francisco Giants, 5-3.

It was another ugly start for Keyvius Sampson, who only made it through three innings. The rookie right-hander allowed a single to the first batter he faced on the evening, which was followed by another Eugenio Suarez error. Three-hole hitter Matt Duffy cleared the bases with a two-run double and the Giants never looked back.

Sampson gave up two more runs in the third inning on three extra-base hits. Duffy hit his second double of the evening with one out and scored two batters later on a triple by Brandon Belt. In his first game against the Reds since being traded away, Marlon Byrd then made it a 4-0 game with an RBI double.

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Sampson would exit after only 59 pitches, having allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks, while striking out none. It’s probably too early to reach a verdict on Sampson, but the more he starts, the more it looks like he’s destined for the bullpen.

To their credit, the Reds didn’t pack it in despite finding themselves in a four-run deficit. A bases-loaded walk by Joey Votto in the fifth made it a 4-1 game. Two innings later, Jay Bruce walloped a two-run home run to bring the Reds within one.

But the Giants would extend their lead in the eight after yet another error by Suarez allowed Duffy to reach base and later score on a sacrifice fly by Belt.

Suarez would slightly make up for his poor defensive night by leading off the ninth with a single as the Reds tried to mount a comeback. Ramon Cabrera, who went 4-for-4 with a double, followed with a base hit to put runners on first and second with no outs. Suarez and Cabrera would never move, though, as Skip Schumaker and Tucker Barnhart struck out, and Bruce lined out to Byrd at the warning track in right field.

Other Notes:

  • After an implosion the day before, the Reds bullpen was able to pick up the slack from Sampson. Pedro Villarreal, Collin Balester, Jumbo Diaz, Manny Parra and Burke Badenhop allowed only two hits and an unearned run in their five innings of work.
  • Billy Hamilton left the game after the fifth inning after apparently re-aggravating his right shoulder injury. It’s probably a sound idea to shut him down for the rest of the year. There’s no good reason to risk suffering a long-term injury by continuing to send him out there for a last-place team.
  • With two walks, Votto extended his on-base streak to 34 consecutive games.

Up Next: John Lamb will take the mound in game two for his first career start against the Giants. He’ll be matched up with fellow rookie Chris Heston, who already has a no-hitter under his belt in his first year. First pitch is set for 10:10 p.m. ET.

Next: Series preview: Reds vs. Giants