SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Cincinnati's Edinson Volquez made one baserunning error in the fifth inning, then followed it up by getting doubled up off second base on a fly ball to left field.
It wasn't the only mistake the Reds made against San Francisco but it was the most costly, ending Cincinnati's best chance to break the game open after letting an early two-run lead slip away.
"I just made a mistake running the bases," Volquez said after the Reds lost 4-2 on Sunday night. "We were probably going to have one or two runs that inning. I just made a mistake and they took advantage of it."
Cincinnati hit into three inning-ending double plays, stranded seven baserunners and was shut down over the final three innings by four San Francisco relievers while dropping the finale of the four-game series.
Volquez, making his second start since being recalled from the minors, pitched six solid innings in the latest step back for the Reds' right-hander. But it was his mistakes running the bases that hurt Cincinnati most.
Volquez singled leading off the fifth — only the second hit of the season for the Cincinnati pitcher — then made his first baserunning gaffe when he failed to take third on Drew Stubbs' single to left.
After Brandon Phillips struck out, Joey Votto hit a long fly ball that Giants left fielder Cody Ross tracked down. Volquez, though, strayed so far off second base that he couldn't get back in time to beat Ross' throw and was easily doubled up.
"He just got too far off the bag," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "It kind of killed that rally. Volky pitched good enough to win. That part of the game was together but the other part, the baserunning, was a little to be desired."
Aubrey Huff had three hits and two RBIs, Jonathan Sanchez pitched six wildly effective innings and the Giants rallied from a 2-0 deficit.
Nate Schierholtz delivered the go-ahead sacrifice fly off reliever Bill Bray during a two-run seventh inning that helped the Giants earn a split of the four-game series.
Sanchez walked five and struck out five in six innings. He constantly pitched out of jams and forced three inning-ending double plays, giving San Francisco a chance to come back.
Ramon Ramirez (2-0) earned the win and Brian Wilson pitched a scoreless ninth for his 18th save in 20 opportunities despite giving up a two-out single to Ramon Hernandez.
"We're just playing right now," said right fielder Jay Bruce, who went 0 for 2 with two walks. "We're not playing well, we're not playing badly. But there's more in the tank and we expect more of ourselves. It's still early. We'll be where we need to be. We just didn't bust it open today.
Chris Stewart started the seventh with a walk. Then Andres Torres hit a double off Jose Arredondo (0-2), who intentionally walked Miguel Tejada to load the bases with one out.
Arredondo was lifted for Bray, who didn't fare much better. Schierholtz hit the go-ahead sacrifice fly to center, and Huff followed with a run-scoring single to give the Giants a 4-2 lead.
That was more than enough to back the bullpen.
Ramirez, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo held the Reds scoreless for two innings before Wilson entered in the ninth. That's the formula San Francisco used to win the World Series last season, even if it looked like Sanchez might throw the game away early.
Of course, that both starters struggled with their control was no surprise. Sanchez and Volquez entered the game as the top two in the National League in walks and the trend continued to hurt both.
Sanchez hit Votto and walked Bruce to lead off the fourth. Then Scott Rolen hit an RBI double before Edgar Renteria lofted a sacrifice fly to left field to give the Reds a 2-0 lead.
The Giants started their rally in the fourth when Huff doubled down the left-field line to score Schierholtz from first and trim Cincinnati's lead to 2-1. Volquez walked Cody Ross to put runners on first and second with one out, then struck out Brandon Crawford and got Manny Burriss to line out to third.
Schierholtz drew a walk off Volquez to open the sixth. He moved to third on a hit-and-run single by Huff, and scored on Ross' groundout to short to even the score.
Volquez departed with the game tied after six innings, striking out five but walking three.
NOTES: Stubbs has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games. ... RHP Bronson Arroyo, who pitches Monday when Cincinnati plays Los Angeles, has won his last three starts against the Dodgers.
- Drew Stubbs
- Nate Schierholtz
- Edinson Volquez
- Joey Votto
- double plays
- sacrifice fly
- Aubrey Huff
- second base
- SAN FRANCISCO