Sergio Romo says he’s becoming the same closer who helped San Francisco win a World Series title. Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips just ruined the party.
“I did not hang that slider but it was too good of a pitch,” Romo said after the Giants’ 7-3 loss on Saturday night. “When you give him a chance like that, he’s going to hurt you. It’s all about getting that pitch down.”
Zack Cozart drove in two runs with a tiebreaking single and the surging Cincinnati Reds scored five times with two outs in the 11th inning after Romo failed to hold a 1-0 lead in the ninth.
Phillips, celebrating his 33rd birthday, hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth for the Reds before pinch-hitter Buster Posey tied it with an RBI double off hard-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman in the bottom half.
“I feel like I was getting back in the groove again,” said Romo, who was charged with his fifth blown save in 27 chances. “I was legitimately one pitch away. I’ve made some adjustments and this was a little setback but I’m definitely on the right track to becoming productive again.”
Romo converted his first 12 save opportunities and carried an ERA of 1.65 over his first 16 1-3 innings. Since then, he’s given up 15 runs in 15 innings over 16 games to see his ERA balloon to 5.17.
“Romo has done such a good job for us and he threw some good pitches,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “If we need to do some tweaking, we’ll do it. What we have to change is what we do from this point on. We have to bounce back.”
San Francisco had a great chance to win, with runners at second and third and nobody out in the ninth. Chapman, however, pitched out of the jam by getting two grounders with the infield in and a strikeout.
“We just needed something, anything,” Bochy said. “With any luck we finish the job. We can’t get it done.”
The NL West-leading Giants have dropped three in a row and 14 of 18.
After a tight pitching duel between Alfredo Simon and Matt Cain, the Reds trailed 1-0 going into the ninth. Joey Votto drew a leadoff walk from Romo, and Phillips homered to left field on a 2-2 delivery.
“It started with the walk,” Bochy said. “That’s the last thing you want to start an inning. He made a mistake to a good hitter.”
Pitching for the fourth straight day, Chapman couldn’t hold the lead. He was handed his second blown save in 18 chances.
Cincinnati loaded the bases in the 11th on Votto’s double off Javier Lopez (1-1), a sacrifice bunt and two intentional walks. Cozart lined a single off Jean Machi with two outs.
Jonathan Broxton (4-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
Cain gave up six hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out four.
“The biggest thing was getting ahead of those guys,” Cain said. “Sanchez did a good job of keeping them off balance so we just went with it.”
After giving up a leadoff single to Gregor Blanco, Simon retired 10 straight and 12 of 13 before Brandon Crawford’s single in the fifth.
Crawford went to third on Adam Duvall’s double and scored when Joe Panik’s sharp grounder squirted away from Simon. Cozart still made the play at first.
Cain snagged a hard line drive off the bat of Ryan Ludwick to end the second, stranding a runner in scoring position.
Cain also escaped trouble when he caught Hamilton, who had three hits, in a rundown between second and third to end the first. The right-hander gave up 17 earned runs over his previous 17 1-3 innings (8.83 ERA) and has won at home once in his last 12 starts.
NOTES: Thanks to an official scoring change, Phillips had an error taken away from Friday night’s game. His errorless streak remains intact at 69 games. Sandoval was credited with an infield hit on the play…. Giants 1B Brandon Belt (thumb) was transferred to Triple-A Fresno from Class-A San Jose two days early on his rehab assignment. … Giants OF Angel Pagan (back tightness) took a turn on the treadmill and hit off a tee. There’s a chance he’ll take batting practice Sunday. . RHP Tim Hudson (7-4, 2.62 ERA) pitches for the Giants in Sunday’s series finale. He’s lost each of his last two starts. RHP Homer Bailey (7-4, 4.80) goes for the Reds. He’s 3-0 in seven games against the Giants.
Updated June 29, 2014