Durham’s pinch-hit single gives Giants 2-0 win over Reds
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—As well as Ray Durham has taken to coming off the bench at the end of this disappointing season, he doesn’t see it as a long-term role.
Durham broke up a scoreless tie with a pinch-hit, two-run single with two outs in the eighth inning and the San Francisco Giants snapped a four-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night.
“It takes a different person to come off the bench day in and day out and come in and get pinch hits,” Durham said. “I take my hat off to Lenny Harris and Mark Sweeney, the guys who have dome it the majority of their careers and made a good living doing it. It’s tough.”
Durham doesn’t see himself becoming a pinch-hit specialist down the road. He has done quite well at it this year, going 6-for-17 with 10 RBIs as a pinch-hitter. He was sent to the bench because of his career-low .218 average and to give Kevin Frandsen a chance to show if he can play in the majors.
Durham has one-year left on his $14.5 million, two-year contract and expects to be starting again next season.
“I’m sure they wouldn’t want to be paying me all this money to be a pinch-hitter,” he said. “They want me in the lineup every day.”
Pedro Feliz started the go-ahead rally with a pinch-hit single with one out off Bill Bray (3-3). Rich Aurilia followed with a double and pinch-hitter Dan Ortmeier was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Gary Majewski came in and retired Omar Vizquel on a line drive to shortstop before Durham hit a broken-bat single to center. Durham also had a two-run, pinch-hit single Friday and a go-ahead, three-run homer to help beat the Dodgers earlier this month.
“He’s a much better hitter than what the season has shown this year,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He knows it and we know it. The fact that he’s contributing off the bench for us is huge.”
Barry Bonds missed his seventh straight game with a sprained right toe. With only four games remaining in his final homestand with the Giants, Bochy wants to get his slugger back on the field so the San Francisco fans can see him a final time.
“You just want the opportunity for Barry and for the fans to connect one more time before he says goodbye,” Bochy said. “That would be a special moment. Everybody knows what he’s done for the organization, for the city. I know the fans would like to see him one more time before he moves on. If he’s healthy and able to go, he’ll be out there.”
Kevin Correia had another strong start for San Francisco, allowing five hits in seven scoreless innings, but ended up with a no-decision. He lowered his ERA to 1.80 in seven starts since joining the rotation in August after struggling as a reliever.
“I’m happy that I could prove that I could do it,” Correia said. “I didn’t have any more room for error. If I had came out and didn’t get the job done as a starter I wasn’t going to see another start in my career.”
Bronson Arroyo matched Correia with seven scoreless innings despite allowing leadoff batter to reach in five of the first six frames. Arroyo allowed five hits and five walks, but stranded nine runners.
“The first three or four innings were definitely a grind for me,” Arroyo said. “I was lucky to get out of a couple of those innings. I started feeling better as the game went on.”
Both teams loaded the bases in the second inning but were unable to score because the pitcher came to bat. Arroyo flied out to left-center to end the top half and Correia struck out to finish the bottom half.
Cincinnati put runners on first and second with one out in the third but couldn’t score when Nate Schierholtz made a leaping catch into the right-field wall to rob Edwin Encarnacion of an extra-base hit. Correia got out of the jam when he retired Joey Votto on a comebacker.
“We just couldn’t get anything started,” Reds manager Pete Mackanin said. “We haven’t been shut out in a while. I tip my cap to Correia.”
The Giants recalled OF Fred Lewis from Class-A San Jose before the game. Lewis lined out to the pitcher as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. … The Reds dropped to 12-21 in games started by Arroyo. … Cincinnati has been shut out four times this season.