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Reds’ bullpen sets futility record in 3-1 loss to Giants

CINCINNATI (AP) — When it comes to giving up runs game after game, nobody in major league history has been as bad as these Reds relievers.

Jeff Samardzija went eight innings to win his third straight start — a career first — and the San Francisco Giants rallied for two runs in the eighth inning against Cincinnati’s historically bad bullpen for a 3-1 victory Tuesday night.

The bullpen has given up at least one run in each of the Reds’ last 21 games, surpassing the 2013 Colorado Rockies for the longest such streak in major league history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“It’s a challenge for the guys in the bullpen,” manager Bryan Price said. “It’s been a challenge to get on a roll.

“Sometimes, you’ve got to stretch a lead. We should be more capable of doing more offensively. We should be able to win games, 8-5, instead of losing them, 8-5. There’s no wiggle room for the bullpen to make a mistake.”

Samardzija (4-1) had been 0-5 in his last nine starts against the Reds, but limited them to three hits — including Adam Duvall’s homer — to end the slump. Santiago Casilla got the last three outs for his sixth save in eight chances.

Samardzija also snapped his bat over his left leg in frustration after striking out with two runners in scoring position in the eighth inning.

The Reds came into the game with by far the worst bullpen in the majors, and watched it let another one get away.

With the game tied 1-1, Kelby Tomlinson drove in the go-ahead run with an infield single off Caleb Cotham (0-1). Gregor Blanco followed with another run-scoring single, putting the Giants in position for their fifth straight win at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds activated left-hander John Lamb off the disabled list before the game to start for Jon Moscot, who has a sore non-throwing shoulder. Lamb had back surgery in December and had made three minor league rehab starts. Lamb gave up six hits in six innings.

“I had mixed emotions,” said Lamb, who threw 103 pitches. “I’d like to go out there and be textbook. At the end of the day, I was able to use my secondary pitches to get guys out and get the game in my favor.”

The Giants got a run in the first inning on consecutive doubles by Buster Posey and Hunter Pence with two outs. Posey had three of the Giants’ five doubles, extending his hitting streak to five games (9 for 17).

LOVIN’ JOHNNY

Former Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto got a loud ovation from the crowd of 14,309 when he was shown in the Giants’ dugout about the first inning. The Reds traded Cueto to Kansas City last July.

REDS MOVE

Reliever Drew Hayes, who gave up Brandon Crawford’s three-run homer in the seventh inning of the Giants’ 9-6 win on Monday, was optioned to Triple-A Louisville to open a roster spot for Lamb.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Giants: 2B Joe Panik was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game with a sore groin. He ran on a treadmill without a problem and is expected back in the next few games. … OF Angel Pagan is still sidelined by a mildly strained left hamstring. The Giants will have a better idea of when he might return on Wednesday. … RHP George Kontos threw 40 pitches on Tuesday and is scheduled to throw in a simulated game on Friday. He’s been on the DL since April 19 with a strained muscle in his pitching arm.

Reds: SS Zack Cozart was out of the lineup for a second straight day with a sore right knee, which was surgically reconstructed last year. … CF Billy Hamilton left in the fifth inning because of a jammed left thumb that has bothered him the last couple of weeks.

UP NEXT

Giants: Jake Peavy (1-2) gave up six runs in two-plus innings of a 13-1 loss to the Mets on Friday. He’s 7-0 career against the Reds in 12 starts. The Giants try for their first three-game sweep in Cincinnati since 1999.

Reds: Dan Straily (0-1) makes his fourth start along with three relief appearances. He’s 0-1 as a starter with a 3.52 ERA.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay