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Romano struggles as Reds win streak ends

May 14, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO -- Sal Romano relies on his fastball a lot to be the foundation for his starts. But when that primary pitch isn't working for the right-handed Reds starter, as was the case Monday, it makes for a rough night.A very good stretch of Reds pitching, and winning, came

SAN FRANCISCO -- Sal Romano relies on his fastball a lot to be the foundation for his starts. But when that primary pitch isn't working for the right-handed Reds starter, as was the case Monday, it makes for a rough night.
A very good stretch of Reds pitching, and winning, came to an abrupt end during a 10-7 loss to the Giants at AT&T Park. It snapped Cincinnati's season-high six-game win streak. Romano left in the third inning down by a 6-1 score, forcing his lineup to unsuccessfully play catch-up all night.
"I was missing my spots all night," Romano said. "It was one of those days. It happens throughout the season. It's how you bounce back. The team really showed a lot of fight there, the whole game, with the bats coming around."
Romano provided his poorest start of the season as he lasted 2 1/3 innings with six earned runs, eight hits and two walks while striking out two. Entering the night, Romano had a 2.05 ERA over his last four starts. The Reds pitching staff did not allow more than three runs during the win streak while posting a 1.64 ERA.
According to MLB Network research, Romano came into the game throwing his fastball 69.9 percent of the time this season, fifth-highest among qualified Major League pitches. But he struggled to locate that pitch during his brief outing while throwing 66 pitches.
Two-out hits were particularly damaging for Romano in the first two innings.
Evan Longoria hit a two-out single up the middle that scored Andrew McCutchen, and Brandon Crawford followed with a two-run double lined to left field for a quick 3-0 deficit. Cincinnati scored a run in the top of the second inning but the Giants made it 4-1 on McCutchen's second double of the night -- an RBI hit down the left-field line.

"I thought I threw some pretty good offspeed pitches. But I just never got in that flow," Romano said. "I've got to be able to bear down and get guys out with two outs. A lot of two-out hits."
San Francisco already had two more hits and a walk with one out in the third inning when Kelby Tomlinson made it 6-1 with a two-run single to center field. Romano was pulled for reliever Jackson Stephens, who delivered 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
"Sal has been doing a really good job for us. His stuff wasn't as sharp tonight," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "He was out there competing like he always does but it just wasn't quite coming out of his hand the way it had been lately, and the Giants made him pay for it."

Tucker Barnhart, who hit an RBI single in the second inning, returned in the fourth to slug a two-run homer to right field against Giants starter Chris Stratton. Leading off the sixth against Stratton, Scott Schebler hit the first pitch for a homer to close the gap to two runs. Schebler finished the game 3-for-4 and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
A three-run bottom of the sixth against reliever Dylan Floro -- aided by a pair of errors by shortstop Jose Peraza -- put the game away for San Francisco, though Adam Duvall's three-run homer in the ninth made it interesting. Of the Giants' 14 hits in the game, there were seven doubles.

Votto exits with injury With two outs in the top of the third inning, Joey Votto hit a single to left field that Gregor Blanco let get by him with a barehanded attempt that went for an error that advanced Votto to second base. Votto appeared to be in some discomfort after the hit and exited before the bottom of the fourth with lower back tightness.
"It just kind of cropped up on him and became more and more uncomfortable," Riggleman said.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton made a tough play look easy, and added some flare. On a Crawford drive to the warning track in left-center field, Hamilton made the catch on the run and turned and fired the cutoff throw as he ran up the padding of the wall.
According to Statcast™, it was a four-star catch with a catch probability of 46 percent. Hamilton covered 105 feet in 5.4 seconds with a sprint speed of 29.8 feet per second.

Tyler Mahle (3-4, 3.86 ERA) has won two of his last three starts and will try to win again when the Reds continue their series vs. the Giants at 10:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Mahle allowed one unearned run, three hits and a career-high four walks over five innings in Thursday's 4-1 win over the Dodgers. Lefty Ty Blach is scheduled to start for San Francisco, which should have righty hitter and ex-Giant Duvall back in the starting lineup.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.