Fireworks kept exploding across the Ohio River on Wednesday night — and not because the Reds and Giants were lighting up the night sky with explosive offense. Both teams had all the firepower of a sparkler in a game that lasted four hours and 35 minutes.
The ninth sellout crowd of the season (40,757) at Great American Ball Park waited around until 11:48 p.m. before they got the show on the north side of the river they hoped to see.
Seconds after a fan in the stands shouted, “Do it for America,” the Reds’ Korean center fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, singled to right to score Todd Frazier from second with two outs and give the Reds a 3-2 victory in the 11th inning.
Frazier led off the 11th with a walk, but he was thinking home run all the way.
After all, it was Todd Frazier bobblehead night.
“If anything was close, which it wasn’t, I was really trying to just dip and jack if you want the truth,” Frazier said. “I was pretty tired, man.”
The Reds (49-36) stay four games back of the Pirates in the National League Central. Cincinnati can complete a four-game sweep in a 1:10 p.m. game today.
Choo almost drove in the winning run with a hard shot up the middle in the ninth, but it didn’t get through. Frazier wasn’t surprised Choo got the job done two innings later.
“He’s coming back. His swing is there,” Frazier said. “I said earlier in the season he’s one of the best hitters in the league, and I’ll keep to it. He’s a guy that makes adjustments. You saw it today. Two line drives in his last at-bats in the late innings. We’ll take that every day.”
The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Jay Bruce was hit by a pitch leading off the inning and moved to third on a single by Frazier. Chris Heisey followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Bruce.
Tony Cingrani, on the mound for his first start since June 11, kept the Giants scoreless for the first four innings. By that point, the Giants had scored a total of one run in 19 innings in the series.
Cingrani is back in the rotation because Johnny Cueto is on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle for the third time this season. Cingrani made three starts in April and three in May and one in June. When Cueto returned to the rotation, Cingrani moved into the bullpen and made five appearances in June.
A smart play by second baseman Brandon Phillips killed a Giants rally in the third. With runners at first and second, Hunter Pence popped to Phillips at second. The infield fly rule was called, so Pence was out, but when Phillips let the ball drop, Buster Posey tried to go to second, and Phillips threw him out.
The dormant Giants offense came to life with one swing in the fifth. Tony Abreu hit a two-out, two-run home run to left to give San Francisco its first lead of the series.
A promising rally by the Reds fizzled in the bottom of the fifth. With Shin-Soo Choo at third and Zack Cozart at first, the heart of the Reds order — Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce — went down on swinging strikeouts.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy took out starter Barry Zito after the first two batters reached. Jose Mijares fanned Votto, and George Kontos got Phillips and Bruce.
Heisey made up for his teammates’ failures in the fifth with a game-tying solo shot in the sixth. It was the second home run of the season and his first since the third game of the season April 4. He didn’t play between April 27 and June 25 because of a strained hamstring.
Cingrani left with two outs in the sixth, having given up those two earned runs on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts.
The Giants threatened in the eighth, loading the bases against Alfredo Simon with two outs, but Manny Parra came on and got a fly out to end the inning.
Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth. J.J. Hoover got the job done in the 10th and 11th.