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Giants drop finale vs. Reds in extras

Giants drop finale vs. Reds in extras

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CINCINNATI -- Facing a compelling four-game series against the Colorado Rockies, the Giants didn't want to dwell on "What Might Have Been" during their three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds that ended Thursday.

But a 2-1, 10-inning loss surely prompted the Giants to contemplate the chances that eluded them, even if they did so only briefly, as they headed for Denver.

"At this point, you want to be greedy," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs led off the 10th with his first Major League homer to snap a 1-1 tie. "We were so close to getting the sweep here."

A sweep would have enabled the Giants to increase the pressure on the Rockies, who led them by a game in the National League Wild Card standings entering Thursday, and the Dodgers, who owned a 4 1/2-game edge on them in the NL West as the day dawned.

Bob Howry (1-6) absorbed the loss for the Giants by yielding the homer to Stubbs, who ended his second Major League game by ricocheting a 2-0 fastball off the left-field foul pole to open the 10th. But the Giants' 2-for-12 hitting with runners in scoring position was the true source of their defeat. Both of those hits moved runners to third base, nothing more. The Giants scored their lone run on a fourth-inning wild pitch.

San Francisco rapped 11 hits but stranded 10 runners, including six in scoring position.

"It's nice that you have opportunities, but it's disappointing when you don't get the job done," outfielder Randy Winn said.

Winn's performance epitomized San Francisco's overall effort. He went 3-for-5, but swung and missed on a hit-and-run attempt in the ninth inning, causing Pablo Sandoval to get thrown out at second base.

"You want to help the team," Winn said, "and I didn't come through right there."

That wasn't the Giants' lone lapse in situational hitting. Eli Whiteside popped up a ninth-inning sacrifice bunt try after Aaron Rowand singled leading off, and San Francisco twice neglected to deliver runners from third base with one out.

"Everybody has games like this, not just us," Bochy said. "This was an off day for the offense with our execution. When you're in a tight game and you don't execute, there's a good chance it's going to come back to haunt you."

Bochy was haunted by the knowledge that this was the Giants' second wasteful performance in a row. Wednesday, they totaled 10 hits but went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, stranded six runners at second base or beyond and collected 10 hits while scoring one run.

"We've been in a funk here and we're going to have to get out of it real soon," Bochy said.

When somebody mentioned that the Giants' next stop on their season-long three-city, 11-game trip would be Coors Field, where hitters typically thrive, Bochy replied, "Well, we were in a hitters' park. You won't find a better hitters' park than this one."

Matt Cain and Aaron Harang turned Great American Ball Park into a pitchers' haven, however. Cain thrived for eight innings, slipping only when Laynce Nix homered with one out in the sixth. The Giants opened the scoring in the fourth inning off Harang -- who worked seven innings -- after Juan Uribe drew a leadoff walk and Nate Schierholtz and Winn singled to load the bases with one out. Harang fanned Ryan Garko, but strike-three was a wild pitch that enabled Uribe to score.

Cain has made five winless starts in a row, though his ERA during this span is a respectable 2.97. He has worked at least seven innings in all seven of his starts since the All-Star break. Moreover, the right-hander wasn't distracted by the memory of unintentionally beaning New York Mets third baseman David Wright with a fastball in his previous start.

"You can't think about that," Cain said.

After this setback, which ended San Francisco's three-game winning streak, the Giants probably didn't want to think about much.

"No question, this was one of our tougher games all year," Bochy said. "But we have to get ready for Colorado now and put this one behind us. I'm sure there's not a guy [in the Giants clubhouse] who's not frustrated."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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