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Preview: Reds (60-83) at Giants (76-68)
Venue: AT&T Park
Date: September 15, 2015 10:15 PM EDT
It wasn’t long ago when San Francisco’s Chris Heston had entered the discussion for NL Rookie of the Year following a dazzling stretch that included a no-hitter.
However, that talk has subsided with the right-hander struggling down the stretch.
Although it’s likely to be too little, too late, Heston will try to end a string of five straight losses while leading the Giants to their fifth straight win Tuesday night against the visiting Cincinnati Reds.
Heston (11-10, 3.55 ERA) went 9-2 with a 3.05 ERA over 14 starts from May 12-July 27. He pitched the 17th no-hitter in franchise history June 9 against the New York Mets, gaining consideration amongst an outstanding field in the race for top rookie honors.
The 27-year-old, though, has shown fatigue late in his first full big-league season, making it out of the fifth inning only twice over his last seven starts with a 5.08 ERA. Heston even had a scheduled start skipped in late August amid his current skid.
“I’m just trying to take positives from every start into the next one,” he told MLB’s official website after lasting 4 2-3 innings in a 2-1 loss at Arizona on Wednesday.
In his only career start versus Cincinnati, he allowed five runs over two innings in a 9-8 road victory May 17.
The Giants (76-68) are in search of their longest winning streak since a six-game run in late July, but they’re still 7 1/2 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West and seven behind the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card with 18 remaining.
Matt Duffy had two doubles and two RBIs, and Brandon Belt went 2 for 3 with a triple and two RBIs in Monday’s series-opening 5-3 victory. Belt is batting .404 with 18 RBIs in his last 26 home games, while Angel Pagan has gone 6 for 13 in his last three.
San Francisco has batted .318 and averaged 8.0 runs while winning the first four of this nine-game homestand. The club is getting it done without Brandon Crawford (calf, side), Joe Panik (back), Hunter Pence (strained left oblique), Nori Aoki (concussion) and Gregor Blanco (concussion).
“It runs in cycles,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “This is more the club that we are, the way we’re playing at home.”
Cincinnati’s all-rookie rotation has posted a 6.96 ERA over its last 13 on the road, but John Lamb (1-3, 5.18) can end that trend by building on his first big-league victory.
The left-hander, who was acquired from Kansas City in the Johnny Cueto trade, overcame a season-high six walks and allowed three runs over five innings in Thursday’s 11-0 win over St. Louis.
“I certainly feel like I got away with something,” Lamb said.
Jay Bruce hit his 21st home run and Ramon Cabrera had four hits in his fifth career game Monday as the Reds dropped their 10th in 15 road games. Bruce, Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips went a combined 5 for 5 off Heston at Great American Ball Park in May.
Joey Votto has reached base safely in 33 straight games, the third-longest active streak in the majors. Billy Hamilton, however, is day to day after leaving the opener with a sore shoulder.
The NL Central-worst Reds are looking to avoid their first series loss at AT&T Park since 2010.