SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Giants manager Bruce Bochy had no problem pulling his starting pitcher in the fourth inning. Cincinnati’s Jim Riggleman hesitated to do the same thing and the Reds paid for it.
Pinch hitter Pablo Sandoval delivered a tying two-run single off Tyler Mahle, Andrew McCutchen drove in the go-ahead run with a grounder two batters later and the Giants beat the Reds 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Brandon Crawford continued his strong May with four more hits, Brandon Belt homered and five relievers combined for five scoreless innings for San Francisco.
Bochy said the move to replace Ty Blach after the left-hander had thrown only 62 pitches through four innings was definitely unconventional but it worked out.
“It’s not something you like doing and you do very often,” Bochy said. “I just thought my hand was forced and I felt like we had enough pitching to get us through it. You don’t know when those chances come up like that, so you go for it. That’s what we did.”
The Giants opened the bottom of the fourth with four consecutive hits off Reds starter Tyler Mahle (3-5), including Belt’s leadoff home run into McCovey Cove.
After Tomlinson struck out with the bases loaded, Sandoval pinch-hit for San Francisco starter Ty Blach and singled in two runs to tie the score at 3-all. Gregor Blanco followed with a single and McCutchen hit into a force play at second, driving in Austin Jackson from third.
“Pulled the right strings,” Blach said. “That was awesome. Pablo comes in and gets a big knock for us, gets the rally kind of rolling there.”
Riggleman removed Mahle after Sandoval’s single and later second-guessed his decision to stick with the starter as long as he did.
“I wanted to give him a chance to get the out there,” Riggleman said. “He got a ground ball, it just found a hole. That’s what Sandoval does, he’s a bad-ball hitter and he hurt us. But certainly in hindsight, I could’ve made him hit right-handed.”
The Giants’ bullpen did the rest.
Pierce Johnson (2-1) retired three batters for the win while Will Smith, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson and Hunter Strickland pitched one inning each with Strickland getting his ninth save.
Crawford doubled, singled three times and scored twice. He is batting .454 (25 for 55) in May and has raised his overall average from .189 to .290.
Eugenio Suarez homered and doubled with two RBIs while Scooter Gennett added two hits for Cincinnati, which has lost two straight after a season-high six-game winning streak.
The Reds got the tying run to second with one out in both the seventh and eighth but couldn’t score.
Suarez homered on a 2-0 pitch from Blach after Jesse Winker reached on a two-out error by Giants second baseman Tomlinson.
Blach allowed three runs (one earned) and five hits over four innings.
INTO THE WATER
Belt’s home run was the eighth of his career to reach the water beyond the right-field wall. That is tied with Pablo Sandoval for second-most behind Barry Bonds. The home run king hit 35 into McCovey Cove.
Short on infielders, the Giants called up Miguel Gomez from Double-A Richmond and optioned OF Austin Slater to Triple-A Sacramento.
Reds: 1B Joey Votto was held out of the starting lineup after leaving Monday’s game with back tightness. Votto struck out as a pinch-hitter to end the game.
Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will need to make at least three rehab starts in the minors before rejoining the big league club, manager Bruce Bochy said. Bumgarner is slated to begin a rehab assignment on May 26, which puts him on pace to return in mid-June. … OF Mac Williamson continues to go through concussion protocol and could begin a rehab assignment this weekend. … Closer Mark Melancon (right elbow flexor strain) is progressing is potentially headed for a rehab assignment Sunday or Monday.
RHP Matt Harvey (0-2, 6.10 ERA) starts in the series finale Wednesday, his second after being acquired by the Reds in a trade from the Mets. Harvey pitched four scoreless innings in his Cincinnati debut. LHP Andrew Suarez (1-2, 4.57) goes for the Giants.