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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Reds' Bullpen Wastes Another Quality Start

The Reds bullpen imploded for the 20th straight game as the San Francisco Giants rallied for five runs in the seventh inning to send Cincinnati to an 9-6 defeat.

Brandon Crawford drove in four runs for the Giants with a decisive three-run home run and a single in the ninth inning.

"I've felt more comfortable at the plate lately," Crawford said. "I haven't had a lot of hits to show for it. I had to stay with it."

Brandon Finnegan and Johnny Cueto met in a game for the first time. Neither were around at the end.

The pair were the marquee names in the July 26 trade that sent Cueto to Kansas City.  Finnegan, Cody Reed and John Lamb came to the Reds and Cueto went to the World Series.

Cueto signed a six-year contract with a team option for 2022.

This was the first time he faced his former teammates and it was Finnegan's sixth start of the season and first regular season appearance against the Giants.  He pitched 1 1/3 innings against the Giants in the 2014 World Series, allowing five earned runs.

The Giants took the lead with three runs in the second inning.  Finnegan walked Brandon Belt and Mac Williamson to open the inning. Crawford flied out but Kelby Tomlinson singled to right to load the bases.  Cueto singled past Joey Votto for two runs and Tomlinson scored on a force play from Denard Span.

The Reds unloaded on their former ace in the third inning.

Tucker Barnhart, who entered the game with a .302 batting average, singled sharply to left.  Finnegan bunted him to second.  Billy Hamilton doubled left center.  Ivan De Jesus Jr. walked.  Votto hit his third home run of the season to give the Reds the lead.  Brandon Phillips singled and Jay Bruce drilled a triple to center. Scott Schebler delivered Votto with a single.

Cueto finished with five innings. He allowed six earned runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out eight.

Finnegan left for a pinch hitter, Adam Duvall, after completing six innings. He allowed three earned runs on six hits and three walks.  He fanned four Giants' batters.

Finnegan battled through a tight hamstring that he felt in the third inning.

"It was tight but not enough to take him out," Bryan Price said.  "We were a little more aggressive than we wanted to be.  We rolled the dice a little because we didn't have a lot of bullpen pieces."

Finnegan said the tightness in his push off foot, the left.

'It was barking a little bit but I'll be fine," Finnegan said.  "I will get treatment on it but it's nothing that will keep me from making my next start."

The Reds turned the game over to its record setting bullpen.  J.C Ramirez struck out Matt Duffy but Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt and Gregor Blanco had consecutive hits to make the score 6-5.  It was the 20th straight game the bullpen has allowed at least one run.  The 2013 Rockies bullpen allowed runs in 20 straight games.

Drew Hayes replaced Ramirez and Crawford put the Giants in the lead with a three-run home run to put the Giants back into the lead at 8-6.

"We have to get these guys on a roll," Price said.  "We've had to use them a lot and some of them are in roles they're not used to.  We have to get them throwing the way they're capable of throwing and string some scoreless innings together."

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