SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Less than a week after returning from the disabled list, Billy Hamilton felt pain again in his right shoulder when he made consecutive throws from deep center field.
He wasn’t going to take many chances.
Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer and Ramon Cabrera went 4-for-4, including a double, but the Cincinnati Reds lost to the San Francisco Giants 5-3 Monday night in the opener of a three-game series.
“I wanted to battle through it,” Hamilton said. “I hate coming out of games. But when I started swinging, it started getting worse. That’s when I said something.”
Hamilton was lifted for a defensive replacement before the bottom of the fifth.
After spotting the Giants a 4-0 lead, Joey Votto walked with the bases loaded in the fifth and Bruce homered against Giants reliever Josh Osich in the seventh.
Votto has reached base safely in 33 consecutive games, the third-longest active streak in the majors.
“That was the first time I’ve ever seen Osich,” Bruce said. “He’s got big power stuff. I was able to put a good swing on the ball. I got a good pitch to hit and I didn’t miss it.”
The Reds lost their second in a row after taking the first three games of a series against the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals.
“We fell behind early but we did a good job of battling back,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “Brucie hitting the two-run homer was really big and we got the first two on in the ninth but didn’t do enough to keep the game going.”
Cabrera has been a bright spot since being called up from the minors. After starting 0 for 5, he’s gone 6 for 9 and is hitting .429 for the Reds.
“We’ve talked about great opportunities to show what you can do and Ramon is getting more chances to play,” Price said. “You can talk about his offense but the way he controls the pitching staff is equally impressive. He’s a quick learner and understands situations. It’s been a comfortable transition for him.”
Matt Duffy doubled twice and drove in two runs, Brandon Belt tripled and drove in two and Marlon Byrd added an RBI double to help San Francisco win its fourth straight at AT&T Park.
George Kontos (3-2) retired four batters for the win after Tim Hudson failed in his bid for the 222nd victory of his career.
Duffy hit a two-run double off Cincinnati starter Keyvius Sampson (2-5) in the first inning then doubled and scored on Belt’s two-out triple in the third.
Sampson lasted just three innings and allowed four runs on five hits. The Reds’ rookie is winless since Aug. 13.
“This game has a way of not only showcasing your strengths but pinpointing your weaknesses,” Price said. “He would get ahead and then make a mistake on a 2-strike pitch or fall behind and have to come in with something.”
Reds: Hamilton came off the DL on Sept. 8 after missing 21 games with a right shoulder injury.
Giants: 2B Joe Panik had an MRI on his back and Bochy said it’s unlikely Panik will play again this season. … SS Brandon Crawford (calf, side) took grounders before the game but there is still no timetable for his return. … OF Hunter Pence (strained left oblique) took dry swings but has yet to face pitching. Like Panik, Pence could possibly be shut down for the remainder of the season.
Reds: LHP John Lamb (1-3) earned his first major league victory in his previous start and will try to make it two in a row when he faces San Francisco for the first time.
Giants: RHP Chris Heston (11-10) is winless in his previous seven starts and has a 5.08 ERA during that span.