With rookie pitcher Nick Lodolo one minor league rehab start away from joining the Cincinnati Reds, somebody must be removed from the rotation.
Mike Minor made a solid statement for his removal Saturday afternoon in Oracle Park against the San Francisco Giants.
Minor gave up three home runs during his five futile innings that led to six runs and eight hits as the Giants pounded the Reds, 9-2.
It was the Reds’ 12th loss in their last 16 games and eighth loss in nine games. The Giants had lost five of their last six when the game began.
Minor’s defeat dropped his record to 1-4 with a 7.71 earned run average. He has pitched 25 2/3 innings and given up 10 home runs.
What makes the Minor situation head-scratching is that the Reds traded starter Sonny Gray for a minor-league pitcher to the Minnesota Twins. Then they turned around and traded relief pitcher Amir Garrett to Kansas City for Minor.
Both Gray and Minor make $10 million this year. And Gray is 3-1 with a 2.53 earned run average for the Twins in nine starts.
While the Giants were playing bombs away with four total home runs, the Reds scraped together two lonely singles against San Francisco starter Logan Webb (7-2, 3.04) over six innings.
The Reds pushed across the first run in the second inning, an unearned run after a two-out error by third baseman Evan Longoria. A single by Nick Senzel plated the run for a 1-0 lead.
The Giants, though, put their leadoff batter on base in all five innings pitched by Minor. And Minor and relief pitcher Jared Solomon walked four and all four scored.
After the Reds took the 1-0 lead, the Giants turned Minor into a pin cushion. And Longoria made up for his error with a home run leading off the second to tie it, 1-1. One out later, Thairo Estrada also homered for a 2-1 Giants lead.
The Giants scored two runs in the third without a home run. Minor walked Austin Slater on a full count and he scored on Darin Ruf’s single and a second run scored on Longoria’s sacrifice fly and it was 4-1.
The Giants lead expanded to 5-1 in the fourth when Minor walked Estrada on a full count to open the inning and he scored on Tommy La Stella’s double.
Joc Pederson led off the fifth with a home run to make it 6-1. Solomon replaced Minor in the sixth. He walked the first two batters and paid a steep price when Wilmer Flores crushed a three-run homer for a 9-1 lead.
The Reds scored a run in the eighth against relief pitcher Tyler Rogers, a home run by Brandon Drury. It was the Reds’ third hit and they finished with four — three singles and a home run.
The Giants blasted nine hits — four homers, two doubles and three singles.
A near-capacity crowd entertained itself by once again booing Reds left fielder Tommy Pham every time he batted. It was a responseto Pham slapping Pederson when the two teams met earlier this season in Great American Ball Park.
And Pederson extracted a piece of revenge. In the sixth inning, Pham drove one to deep left but Pederson raced to the wall and made a leaping catch.
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