Watching his closer allow crucial ninth-inning home runs in each of his last two appearances might be cause for concern by some managers.
Not first-year Cincinnati manager David Bell – at least, not yet.
»MCCOY: Fast start fades in another loss
Raisel Iglesias entered Sunday’s game against the San Francisco Giants with the score 4-4, the bases empty and one out. The right-hander, who gave up a game-tying homer to Buster Posey in Friday’s wild 11-inning, 12-11 loss the Giants, saw Posey double into the right field corner.
Brandon Crawford came off the bench looking for his first home run of the season. He found it, launching a no-doubt drive into the right field seats to send the Reds to a 6-5 loss in a game they led, 4-0, after the first four batters.
Iglesias entered after left-hander Amir Garrett had four straight batters, but he was reaching the heart of the Giants’ order.
“I second-guess myself all the time,” Bell admitted. “For that situation we want to throw our best out there. The Giants are a good team and have been for a long time. We’ve seen Raisel really good, too. He’s not happy with the results but we still like where he is.”
Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker and Derek Dietrich pounced on Jeff Samardzija to give the Reds a 4-0 first inning lead.
Suarez followed Joey Votto’s leadoff bloop single to center with a drive that just cleared the fence down the right field line. Winker and Dietrich followed with first-pitch drives to right-center, Dietrich turning his entire body to stare into the Reds dugout as he danced up the first base line after his fourth home run in three games.
The home runs were each player’s ninth of the season. Kyle Farmer’s first career pinch-hit homer in the ninth boosted the Reds’ total for the three-game series to an even dozen.
“We are scoring runs now,” Bell said. “Good things are going to happen.”
Samardzija became the first Giants pitcher to allow three consecutive home runs since former Red Brett Tomko on April 18, 2004, against the Dodgers.
The Reds, wearing throwback uniforms from the 1911 season that included blue caps, jerseys and pants, hit back-to-back-to-back home runs for the second time this season. Matt Kemp, Suarez and Scott Schebler all went deep against Wei-Yin Chen on April 9 against Miami.
Dietrich, who enhanced the throwback look by drawing a mustache on his face, has homered in three consecutive games for the second time in his career and first since June 22-24 of last season.
Samardzija regrouped and retired his last 13 batters. He allowed five hits and four runs with four strikeouts in five innings.
Luis Castillo, in his first start since being named the NL Pitcher of the Month, was dynamic through five innings, facing the minimum 15 batters and allowing no hits and one walk. The Giants reached him in the sixth for four runs, including Posey’s three-run, game-tying home run – just his second homer of the season, but the ninth of his career against Cincinnati. Only two have been solo shots.
“I didn’t do anything different in the sixth inning,” Castillo said. “I didn’t know I was throwing a no-hitter. I don’t think I missed with the pitch to Posey. It was a really good pitch. He put a good swing on it.
“After the sixth, I was still focused on the game,” he added.
“Castillo was outstanding again,” Bell said. “A couple of ground ball hits before the home run. The results don’t show it, but it very well could be his best game of the season.”