By Hal McCoy
Not even their lucky charm could stop the Cincinnati Reds from losing their sixth straight game Tuesday night in Great American Ball Park.
And he wasn’t so lucky.
Even though Luke Weaver’s record was only 2-2, the Reds had won all eight of his last eight starts, despite his 8.66 earned run average in those games.
But he was knocked out of the game, literally, by a line drive hit by Michael Conforto off his left elbow in the third inning
It ended with a wild 11-10 loss to the San Francisco Giants, after they lost the resumption of Monday’s suspende game earlier in the day, 4-2.
Not even 10 runs could produce a win.
Not even 14 hits could produce a win.
Not even four home runs coud produce a win.
Not even a dramatic pinch-hit three-run home run by Christian Encarnacion-Strand, his first major league hit that gave the Reds an 8-7 lead could produce a win.
Not even Joey Votto’s 350th carer home run that pulled the Reds within one run in the seventh inning could produce a win.
They didn’t win because they can’t keep Wilmer Flores from smashing the baseball all over GABP. He hit two homers, a sacrifice fly, drove in five runs and scored three.
That went along with a home run, two doubles and two RBI in the suspended game.
They didn’t win because they walked the number eight hitter twice and he scored three runs.
They didn’t win because Reds pitchers walked eight and three scored.
In fact, despite the Giants collecting 11 hits and hitting three home runs, it was two walks that finally sealed Cincinnati’s doom.
It was 8-8 after six innings and Buck Farmer issued a walk and a two-out single. Manager David Bell brought in Tony Santillan, fresh off the injured list.
He walked Wisely to fill the bases and walked number nine hitter Casey Schmitt to force in a run that provided the Giants with a 9-8 lead.
Luis Matos, inserted into the game in the fifth inning, delivered a two-run single and it was 11-8, a lead that Reds almost surmounted, but not quite.
For the Reds, the night’s highlight was Encarnacion-Strand’s home run.
Jake Fraley hit a two-run home run in the first, but when his turn came in the fifth against Giants left-hander Sean Manaea, Bell made a bold move.
He sent the raw rookie to pinch-hit, his fourth major-league at bat. Giants manager Gabe Kapler countered by bringing in right-haned Mauricio Llovero.
There were two men on and one out, the Reds down, 7-5. The count went to 0-and-2 and Encarnacion-Strand fouled one off. Then he saw a hanging 84 miles an hour slider and cold-cocked it 426 feet into the upper deck in left field.
The Reds had a slight chance in the ninth against premiere closer Camilo Doval. Jonathan India beat out a broken bat grounder to third with one out. Votto walked on a full count, putting the possible tying run on second and the winning run on first.
But it ended when Spencer Steer hit into a double play for Doval’s MLB-leading 30th save.
The suspended game wandered into the 10th inning and the Reds flummoxed a game-winning opportunity in the ninth.
Ella De La Cruz opened the inning by working a hard-earned 3-and-2 walk after fouling off two full-count pitches.
He bolted for second and was called out, but replay/review overturned the call. He was safe and was the potential winning run on second with no outs.
And pitcher Tyler Rogers picked him off.
Ian Gibaut started the 10th and Joc Pederson shote a full-count pitch over left-fielder Will Benson’s head, scoring the ghost runner.
Pederson took third when Gibaut hit the knob of Wilmer Flores’ bat and it squirted to first baseman Joey Votto. Pederson scored on a ground ball to second baseman Jonathan India and it was 4-2.
Matt McLain was the ghost runner in the bottom of the 10th and didn’t score. San Francisco closer Camilo Doval retired three straight, striking out India and Votto to end it, Doval’s MLB-leading 29th save.
And the Reds entered the regularly schedule game on a five-game losing streak against the Giants’ six-game winning streak
So now the Reds have lost six straight and the Giants have won seven in a row.