CINCINNATI – Even the thunderstorm’s timing was lousy.
The Giants got hammered worse than Chi Delts at an open-bar wedding Monday night. Mike Kickham got the hook in the third inning trailing 7-0. The Reds’ Bronson Arroyo ballet stepped through a tired lineup while allowing just two hits.
The waste of a game became official after 4 ½ innings. Only then did the heavy rain arrive, washing out the remainder of the Giants’ 8-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
It started to get really wet as the Giants prepared to bat in the seventh inning. After a delay of one hour and 28 minutes, umpires called it – and it’s a wonder why it took so long. The storm was so intense that iPhones in the press box buzzed with flash-flood alerts and waterfalls the size of Iguazu poured from the upper deck.
You could use all manner of statistical ickiness to describe the way the Giants began July after a 10-17 June. But go with this: Kickham, Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum are now 1-13 with an 8.11 ERA in 17 road starts.
Zito and Lincecum start the next two here.
Starting pitching report
No wonder Giants manager Bruce Bochy is kicking around the idea of Kickham as a reliever. The left-hander came out firing, and for the third time in his three starts, he worked a 1-2-3 first inning. A painted, 3-2 fastball on the outside edge to Joey Votto was particularly impressive.
But if hitters are 0 for 9 off Kickham in the first, just look what they’ve done to him after that: 21 for 41 (.512) with four home runs and 17 runs scored in 7.1 innings.
The Reds were 9 for 12 against Kickham after the first inning. Some of it was bad luck, such as Derrick Robinson’s classic Baltimore chop that bounced hard off the dirt and over third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s head for a two-run single that made it 4-0 in the second inning.
But a lot of it stemmed from mistakes at the belt. Todd Frazier provided Exhibit A when he found the second deck in left field with his three-run homer in the third. Kickham faced just two batters after that, getting pulled following a double by Ryan Hanigan.
Bochy said he was operating on a start-to-start basis with Kickham (0-3). This might be the right time to note that Chad Gaudin is eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday – the same day Kickham’s turn would come up again.
The Giants don’t have enough rented mules to go around, so the abbreviated night turned out to be a good thing for the bullpen.
Jake Dunning did have his impressive moments, though, while striking out two in 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Turns out he’s got a pretty good changeup he can break out against lefties, even those of Votto’s caliber.
At the plate
Brandon Belt didn’t gather much rust by sitting Saturday and Sunday at Coors Field as Buster Posey’s sore legs necessitated that he pick up a first baseman’s mitt.
Belt walked in the second inning and then smacked his ninth home run in the fifth, matching his career high.
But Arroyo only allowed one other hit, and that was to Kickham, who doubled in the third.
As you might recall, Arroyo allowed just one hit when he beat the Giants 9-0 in Game 2 of the NLDS last October. You might not recall that Belt got the only hit.
Sandoval didn’t look so swift while trying to barehand Hanigan’s infield single in the second inning.
The Reds announced 30,702 paid. Around 20 fans were still in the ballpark when the game was finally called – half of them because they were incapacitated after eating Skyline Chili.
The Giants and Reds continue their four-game series Tuesday at Great American Ball Park. Tim Lincecum (4-8, 4.64 ERA) takes the mound against right-hander Homer Bailey (4-6, 3.88). Last time the Giants faced Bailey, he held them to one hit and struck out 10 in seven innings – and the Giants still won Game 3 of the NLDS. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. PDT.