Shaky defense, quiet offense haunt Cingrani, Reds
First four-error game since 2010 contributes to early deficit
CINCINNATI -- As the schedule inches closer each day to Game 162, and the opportunities to gain ground in the division wane, the Reds might hope that an ugly performance like they had on Saturday isn't one of the games that helped leave them short.
Self-inflicted mistakes ruled the night as the Reds made four errors, including three committed by third baseman Jack Hannahan, during a 3-1 loss to the Padres at Great American Ball Park.
"That's not a typical big league team, doesn't matter whose name is in front of it. We didn't play well," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. It was the first time his team had four errors since May 20, 2010, at Atlanta.
Whether it was at the plate, on the bases or in the field, the Reds were of little help to rookie lefty Tony Cingrani. He lasted five innings, allowing two unearned runs with two hits, two walks and five strikeouts.
The defensive glitches burned the Reds in the first inning, as Cincinnati already had two errors three batters into the game. Following a Chris Denorfia leadoff single, Will Venable lofted a single to left field. Xavier Paul muffed fielding the ball for an error that allowed Denorfia to score and Venable to reach second base.
"That's just one of those balls like, 'How did that happen?' It felt like the ball went through my glove," Paul said. "It's just a play where I was right there in front of the ball. Maybe it took a little hop on me. It's just one of those plays where you can't let it happen, but they do happen sometimes."
Chase Headley followed with a grounder to third base. Hannahan made a high throw outside the bag that sailed through Joey Votto's glove and went into the camera pit. Hannahan was charged with his first error on the night and Venable was awarded home plate on the play for the second unearned run.
Cingrani needed 32 pitches to get through the inning, something that would not help later as he was lifted following the fifth inning with 92 pitches.
"When you make four errors, there is four potential outs and it cost him probably 40 pitches or so," Baker said. "That's what happens when you make errors. The lineup goes around. You're facing those guys five times instead of four. The innings are prolonged. It makes it tough on your starting pitcher."
Given a rare start at third base because Baker didn't like the matchup for Todd Frazier against slider-throwing Padres righty Tyson Ross, Hannahan's night only got tougher. Nick Hundley hit a routine grounder that rolled between his legs to begin the fifth. In the seventh, on a one-out grounder by Logan Forsythe, Hannahan air-mailed another throw over Votto for the first three-error game of his career. Neither of the latter two miscues came back to haunt, however, but they certainly didn't feel good for Hannahan.
"Frustrating game," Hannahan said. "I don't get a lot of starts. You get one and have a game like this, of course, it gets magnified. But it's baseball. I'm going to come back ready to work tomorrow and help the team win."
In the middle of the seventh, Baker could be seen chatting one-on-one with Hannahan in the Reds dugout.
"Jack had a tough day," Baker said. "He's known for his defense. It seemed like it kind of got into his head. This guy is one of the best around at playing third base."
The last Reds player to have three errors in one game was also a third baseman -- Edwin Encarnacion on April 12, 2006, vs. the Cubs.
"I'm 33 years old and I've been around. It's baseball," Hannahan said. "At no time during that game did I not want the ball hit to me. It's frustrating when you have games like this and cost your team a win, especially in the race we're in. You go home, try to get some sleep, come back and try to help your team win."
Cincinnati got one run back in the bottom of the first inning against Ross. After Shin-Soo Choo's leadoff walk and stolen base, Brandon Phillips lined a two-out RBI single to right field for his team-leading 87th RBI. The chance to add on was foiled when Phillips was caught stealing second base to end the inning.
Ross kept the Reds largely quiet for the next several innings. He did not allow another hit until Devin Mesoraco's leadoff single in the fifth. Mesoraco was erased when Hannahan grounded to first base for a double play.
In the seventh inning, the Reds rallied against Ross as Jay Bruce drew a leadoff walk and Paul lined a single to right-center field that put runners on the corners. Mesoraco followed with a flyout to Denorfia in shallow right field. It wasn't deep enough for Bruce to tag up and score, but Paul inexplicably bolted for second base.
"When I saw X take off, I thought he was bluffing," Baker said.
Alas, Paul was not bluffing. Denorfia's throw was cut off by Yonder Alonso at first base, who fired to second base to nail Paul in a rare 9-3-6 double play. Boos cascaded from the crowd of 34,777 fans.
"It was a play where what I was planning on happening, happened. He cut off the ball. I was trying to force the cut," Paul said. "That was just a little too shallow for Jay to tag to go home. My mistake was misjudging the depth of where Denorfia caught the ball."
In the top of the eighth with one out, lefty reliever Manny Parra was summoned to replace Alfredo Simon and face the left-handed Venable. It backfired as Parra gave up only his second homer to a lefty this season when Venable cleared the right-field fence with a solo shot. The Reds' three-game win streak ended in the most lackluster fashion.
"You get it out of your system," Paul said. "I know I'm going to try and forget about this game and come back tomorrow with a brand new attitude. I'm sure Jack is going to do the same thing. As a team, I think we're going to come back tomorrow and expect to win again."