Reds-Giants Preview


The San Francisco Giants' pitching staff recently made franchise history, but the Cincinnati Reds' starters have shined the brightest in the last two games.

Ryan Vogelsong will try to deliver another strong home start for the Giants on Sunday and salvage a four-game series split against the Reds and Bronson Arroyo, who will try again for his first career victory in San Francisco.

Entering this four-game set on the heels on three consecutive shutout victories over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the NL West-leading Giants (44-35) won Thursday's series opener 5-0 over the Reds (43-34), setting a club record with a fourth straight shutout.

However, the Reds' starters that have dominated the last two contests between these first-place clubs. After Mike Leake threw a nine-hitter in Friday's 5-1 victory - the Giants' lone run came on a Pablo Sandoval ninth-inning homer - Mat Latos tossed a two-hitter Saturday for a 2-1 Cincinnati win.

It marked back-to-back complete games by Reds starters since May 11 and 12, 2010, when Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey tossed shutouts at Pittsburgh.

"We ran into another well-pitched game,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We didn't do too much.''

Fortunately for San Francisco, opponents have not done much against Vogelsong (7-3, 2.23 ERA) at the team's waterfront ballpark. Since joining the team in 2011, the right-hander has compiled a sparkling 1.85 home ERA.

Vogelsong has thrown at least six innings in all 14 of his starts this year.

"It's pretty amazing what he has done and how consistent he's been," Bochy told the team's official website Tuesday after Vogelsong went seven strong innings in a 2-0 victory over the Dodgers.

Vogelsong, though, is 1-3 with a 6.60 ERA in seven career starts versus the Reds. He gave up four runs in six innings at Cincinnati on April 26, but the Giants rallied for three runs in the ninth and a 6-5 victory to salvage the finale of that three-game set.

The Reds have clinched the season series by virtue of winning the last two contests, but Arroyo (3-5, 4.13) can help the Central leaders win their first series by the Bay since taking two of three Aug. 7-9, 2009.

The right-hander is 0-4 with a 4.34 ERA in five starts at San Francisco.

Arroyo has given up two homers in 29 innings in those appearances, which is much better compared to his 15 allowed over 15 total starts in 2012.

After surrendering two long balls in each of his previous three outings, Arroyo kept the ball in the park in Tuesday's 4-3 win over Milwaukee. He didn't yield a hit until Taylor Green's two-out double in the eighth, but he gave up three runs and didn't make it out of the inning or get credit for the victory.

"After a gem like that, a no-decision is terrible,'' said Arroyo, who also failed to earn a decision after allowing two runs - one earned - in five innings of a 4-2 victory over the Giants on April 25.

The Reds might be without first baseman Joey Votto in the series finale after he left Saturday's game in the fifth inning because of inflammation in his left knee. If Votto can't go, Miguel Cairo - who had an RBI single off the bench Saturday - could get the start.

Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who is batting .344 (22 for 64) in his last 15 games in San Francisco, is 7 for 12 lifetime off Vogelsong.

The Giants are trying to avoid dropping three in a row for the first time since a season-worst four-game skid to begin May.