Ashcraft goes 8, Reds beat Giants 4-2 to halt 7-game skid
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Rookie right-hander Graham Ashcraft bounced back from two poor starts, pitching a career-high eight innings to help the Cincinnati Reds stop their seven-game losing streak Friday night with a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Nick Senzel drove in two runs and Mike Moustakas scored twice to pace the Cincinnati offense.
Ashcraft (4-1) gave up only a two-out homer to Evan Longoria in the fourth inning and an RBI single to Mike Yastrzemski in the eighth. The latter followed a double-play comebacker Ashcraft induced from Tommy La Stella to dampen a potential Giants rally.
“That changed the inning,” Ashcraft said.
He appreciated the decision by manager David Bell to leave him in for the eighth.
“That shows he’s starting to get trust in me,” Ashcraft said.
Hunter Strickland worked the ninth against his former team for his third save.
“Like I told some of the guys: Strickland and I were hanging out last night, and he said, `You’re going to go eight, and I’m gonna come in for the ninth and shut them out,”′ Ashcraft said.
Ashcraft permitted six hits and walked none while striking out eight. He gave up 10 runs and 17 hits over 9 2/3 innings in his previous two starts.
“I was able to locate my fastball and I was beating them with it,” Ashcraft said. “I was mixing in sliders, and that was throwing them off and keeping them on their toes.”
San Francisco’s last 10 games, six of them defeats, have been decided by two runs or fewer. These were the type of games the Giants won routinely last season on the way to a franchise-best 107-55 record.
“I think it’s fairly straightforward — making one more play. We probably made that one more play last year,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Getting that one more hit. We probably got that one more hit last year. Making one more pitch. We probably did that more last year. That’s still in there. That talent level and those big moments haven’t gone away. We just have to keep working to find them.”
Cincinnati opened the scoring with two runs in the second off starter Alex Cobb (3-3). Kyle Farmer reached on an infield single and scored on Moustakas’ double. Senzel also doubled to knock in Moustakas.
Senzel and Jonathan India executed a double steal to set up a run-scoring groundout by Donovan Solano in the fifth. That was the final run charged to Cobb, who went 4 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs, two earned, and five hits while walking one and striking out four.
Moustakas doubled again in the sixth off left-hander Jake McGee and came home on Senzel’s single.
San Francisco recalled RHP Yunior Marte from Triple-A Sacramento and optioned RHP Zack Littell to the same club.
Littell yielded three runs in four innings spanning his last two appearances, including a 40-pitch stint in the second one.
“Zack has pitched a lot for us, and this last outing was relatively taxing,” Kapler said before the game. “I don’t think it’s any secret we want to be in a position to protect our bullpen, and today we felt we needed to get an arm on the roster that could give us two, two-plus innings if necessary.”
Reds: Placed RHP Jeff Hoffman on the injured list and recalled RHP Jared Solomon to fill his spot. ... LHP Nick Lodolo (low back strain) is scheduled to make his fourth rehab appearance Wednesday for Triple-A Louisville at Toledo. “He’s going to make one more start and then be back the first week of July as a starter with us,” Bell said. “Around the 4th or 5th if everything goes well next time out.”
Giants: SS Brandon Crawford returned to the lineup. He exited Tuesday’s game at Atlanta with a bruised left knee following a collision with catcher Travis d’Arnaud. ... OF LaMonte Wade Jr. went 2 for 5 with a double, a home run and two RBIs as the DH with Triple-A Sacramento in a rehab game Thursday. He was expected to play the outfield for seven innings Friday. “We’ve seen with LaMonte that we want him to feel confident in his performance and his health,” Kapler said. “And when we bring him back to the major league level, we want him to feel like he can do everything he needs to do on the baseball field without any restrictions. And so we’re going to be patient with that.”
Reds LHP Mike Minor (1-3, 6.97 ERA) faces Giants RHP Logan Webb (6-2, 3.26) on Saturday.
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