With a BFF like Kyle Farmer, San Francisco Giants pitcher Alex Wood needs no enemies.
Farmer and Wood were roommates at the University of Georgia, roommates with the Los Angeles Dodgers and they were part of each other’s weddings.
On Saturday afternoon in Great American Ball Park, though, they were combatants.
And Farmer won in glorious fashion for the Cincinnati Reds. He bashed a three-run home run in the first inning. That was all the Reds needed for a 3-2 victory.
It was Cincinnati’s season-best fourth straight victory and with two straight over the Giants it assured them a series victory. The Giants have lost six of their last eight.
And the game ended in dramatic fashion — a walk-off defensive play by right fielder Aristides Aquino.
The Giants put the potential tying run on second and the potential lead run on first with two outs in the ninth against Reds relief pitcher Tony Santillan.
With two outs and two strikes, Wilmer Flores hit a single to right, on one bounce to Aquino. The runner on second was 249-pound catcher/pinch runner Joey Bart. He tried to score from second, but Aquino winged a 93 miles per hour one-hop throw to catcher Tyler Stephenson and Bart was out from here to the Brent Spence Bridge
It was Aquino’s fifth outfield assist, second most in MLB so far this season.
Farmer acted a bit sheepish during a post-game interview on the field with Bally’s Jim Day.
“That got me fired up, Aquino’s throw to end the game,” said Farmer. “That was awesome. I have no doubt on Aquino. He has one of the best arms in the game. That gave me goosebumps.”
Farmer’s home run gave 26,655 fans in GABP double goosebumps.
“Gosh, I love Alex to death,” said Farmer. “He’s my best friend, a great guy, a great pitcher. I just put a good swing on it. Alex is my best friend, and he threw well after that.”
Famer said there will be no post mortem discussion on the home run between the two.
“We won’t bring it up ... no, no, no,” he said. “I leave it on the field. There is no trash talk between me and him. I’ve seen Alex, know what he does his entire life. I knew what he was trying to do, and we had a good scouting report on him. He is an All-Star and he does everything right.”
Reds starter Vladimir Gutierrez, 0-6 with an 8.70 ERA when the day began, worked out of a multitude of problems to earn his first victory.
Brandon Drury singled with one out in the first and Tyler Stephenson walked. After Joey Votto struck out, Farmer launched a 397-foot three-run home run, extending his hitting streak to eight games.
Those runs turned out to be ultra-important because after Farmer’s home run Wood retired 15 of 16 and 10 in a row.
Gutierrez gave up a game-leading double to Tommy La Stella, but stranded him by retiring the next three, the last two on strikeouts.
The Giants loaded the bases in the second inning with out, then Gutierrez retired former Reds catcher Curt Casali on a shallow fly ball and struck out La Stella.
San Francisco broke through for a run in the third on a leadoff double by Mike Yastrzemski and a one-out double by Joc Pederson to make it 3-1. Gutierrez stranded Pederson by striking out Brandon Crawford and coaxing a weak fly ball from Evan Longoria.
Gutierrez left after five innings after holding the Giants to one run, six hits, a walk and four strikeouts, needing only 83 pitches to get there.
Luis Cessa replaced him and gave up a one-out second deck home run to left by Longoria, the third home run off Cessa in a week. That cut the margin to 3-2.
Casali started the ninth with a single. With one out, Santillan walked Mike Yastrzemski. Santillan struck out Darin Ruf, setting in motion Aquino’s bullet throw to end the game.
All season, the Reds have had difficulty against left-handed starters and at one point were 1-10 in games started by southpaws. But they’ve won three straight, including Friday against Carlos Rodon and Saturday against Wood
And they haven’t been good in one-run games, but held on tightly to get this one.