Giants look to Sanchez to earn series split

Giants look to Sanchez to earn series split
June 12, 2011, 7:12 pm
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June 12, 2011CINCINNATI (34-32) vs.GIANTS (36-29)

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(AP) -- The loss of one of the San Francisco Giants' best hitters doesn't bode well for a depleted lineup already struggling to produce.

After another lackluster performance at the plate, the NL West-leading Giants close a four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday night.

The Giants (36-29) suffered a 10-2 loss to the Reds (34-32) on Saturday, a day after Freddy Sanchez dislocated his right shoulder while diving for a grounder. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list and was scheduled to have an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.

Sanchez was one of the few hitters producing for San Francisco. He was batting .289 with 24 RBIs - second-most on the team - and had a club-high 15 doubles.

After placing Sanchez on the DL, things didn't improve much later in the day for the Giants as Tim Lincecum gave up seven runs in four innings in one of the worst starts of his career while the offense sputtered against Mike Leake, who pitched eight scoreless innings.

"That's a good hitting ballclub and you're going to pay for it if you're off. There's not much else to it, really," manager Bruce Bochy said of Lincecum's struggles.

San Francisco, which has scored nine runs the last five games, ranks near the bottom of the league in runs per game (3.5) and batting average (.240). Before Sanchez's injury, the team was already without catcher Buster Posey, who is out for the season with a broken bone in his lower left leg and three torn ligaments in his ankle, and third baseman Pablo Sandoval, sidelined with an injured right wrist.

To fill Sanchez's spot, the Giants signed Bill Hall, who batted .224 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 46 games with Houston.

"We need some depth right now and he gives us that at every position in the infield and outfield," Bochy said. "He has some power, speed, so we're glad to have him."

After failing to do much off Leake, San Francisco might not find it any easier against Edinson Volquez (4-2, 5.74 ERA), who was sharp in his return to Cincinnati's rotation this week, allowing one run in seven innings of an 8-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.

Volquez was the Reds' opening day starter before being demoted to Triple-A Louisville after his ERA rose to 6.35 following a start against Cleveland on May 22.

"He was locating his fastball a lot better. That's the Volquez we knew from before," manager Dusty Baker told the Reds' official website.

The right-hander is 2-1 with an 8.31 ERA against the Giants, and his most recent matchup is surely one he'd prefer to forget. Volquez recorded only two outs in an 11-2 loss Aug. 23, allowing five runs, five hits and three walks.

He'll try to help the Reds win back-to-back games for the third time this month after they dropped 11 of 14 to close out May.

Joey Votto had three hits Saturday, and is batting .385 this month with nine RBIs.

San Francisco will hand the ball to Jonathan Sanchez (4-4, 3.51), who has struggled with his control the last two starts, walking 11 in 10 1-3 innings. He gave up two runs and four hits in five innings of a 2-1 loss to Washington on Tuesday, striking out six.

The left-hander is 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA in four starts against the Reds.

Brandon Phillips is 3 for 8 against Sanchez with each hit leaving the park.