CINCINNATI (AP) – Scott Feldman used every bit of his diplomatic and lobbying skills to earn a chance for those last three outs.
The right-hander talked his way into pitching one more inning despite a high pitch count. He made quick work of the San Francisco Giants in the ninth, finishing off a four-hitter for a 4-0 victory on Sunday that gave the Cincinnati Reds a series sweep.
When he reached the dugout after the eighth inning, Feldman (2-3) went to work on manager Bryan Price and asked for one more inning even though he’d already thrown more than 100 pitches.
“I asked if it was negotiable,” Feldman said. “It usually isn’t. I could see the finish line was so close. The adrenaline was pumping.”
Feldman retired the side in order in the ninth for his third career shutout and his first since 2014 with Houston. It was Cincinnati’s first complete game of the season.
“I was pumped to see him go out for the ninth,” shortstop Zack Cozart said. “You rarely get a chance to see a complete-game shutout anymore.”
The Giants have seen a lot of that already. They were shut out for the fourth time, tied with the White Sox for most in the majors. They were outscored 31-5 while getting swept in a three-game series against Cincinnati for the first time since 2013.
“He was good, but to be honest, it’s hard to say how good because, boy, we’ve really struggled here with the bats,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Score five runs in a three-game series? I didn’t see that coming.”
Feldman was only 1-5 in six career starts against the Giants going into this game. He easily handled a slumping lineup, striking out five, walking one and hitting a batter while throwing 119 pitches.
Scott Schebler and Zack Cozart homered off Johnny Cueto (4-2), who was the Reds’ ace for eight seasons. In two starts against them since being traded in 2015, he has given up 10 runs in 12 innings. He struck out a season-high 10 and allowed six hits during seven innings while taking this loss.
“It looked like we never got off the plane, the way we were playing,” Bochy said. “These things are hard to explain. I wish I had a magic button. But we’d better figure it out here soon.”
The Giants have struggled in all aspects while dropping four of their last five games. Shortstop Christian Arroyo booted Billy Hamilton’s grounder to open the Reds’ first – San Francisco’s eighth error in seven games. Hamilton scored on Eugenio Suarez’s single. Scooter Gennett added an RBI single in the inning.
Schebler hit his ninth homer, and Cozart’s second of the season made it 4-0 in the fifth.
Billy Hamilton tripled for the third consecutive game. The last Reds player to do it was Deion Sanders in 1997.
Cueto recorded double-digit strikeouts for the 14th time in his career and the fourth with the Giants. Cueto has fanned 10 or more batters eight times at Great American Ball Park, the most by any pitcher.
“I already know how it’s like to pitch here,” he said through a translator. “I felt that the mound kind of changed a little bit. It was flatter.”
Cozart went deep into the hole at shortstop to get Cueto’s grounder and throw him out to end the fifth inning, preventing a run. Giants center fielder Gorkys Hernandez made a diving catch of Jose Peraza’s fly to the gap in the sixth inning.
The Reds optioned RH starter Amir Garrett to Triple-A Louisville and called up RH Barrett Astin, giving themselves another reliever.
Giants: SS Brandon Crawford ran and took groundballs without problem on Sunday. He’ll play six innings for Double-A Richmond on Monday as part of a rehab stint. Crawford has been sidelined since April 26 because of a strained groin.
Reds: LF Adam Duvall got a day out of the lineup, with Gennett starting in his place. Duvall came in as a defensive replacement in the eighth.
Giants: LHP Matt Moore (1-4) gave up a career-high nine earned runs in 3 1/3 innings during a 13-5 loss at Dodger Stadium last Tuesday. He faces Jacob deGrom (1-2) in the opener of a three-game series against the Mets in New York.
Reds: Rookie Davis (1-1) faces his former organization when the Reds open a two-game series against the Yankees. Masahiro Tanaka (4-1) starts for New York.
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