Building big early leads was no problem for the Cincinnati Reds during their four-game series against the San Francisco Giants.
Holding them was another matter. They squandered an 8-0 third-inning lead in an 11-inning, 12-11 loss on Friday and a 4-0 lead after the first four batters in Sunday’s 6-4 defeat. In between, they opened up a 5-1 lead through two innings on Saturday and held on for a 9-2 win.
They were at it again Monday. Nick Senzel, batting in the leadoff slot for the first time in his brief, four-game career, led off the first and second innings with home runs, Eugenio Suarez hit his second two-run homer in two games and Jose Iglesias drove in four runs with a triple, double and single as Cincinnati romped to a 12-4 win in the finale of a bee-wildering series.
The score got so wacky that third baseman Pablo Sandoval pitched the eighth and faced the minimum three batters.
The Reds hit 15 home runs while splitting the four-game series, which also represented their third consecutive one-team, one-series home stand. They left after the game for a six-day, six-game trip to the San Francisco Bay area for three-game series against Oakland and the Giants. The first of a three-game interleague series with the Athletics is scheduled for Tuesday at 10:07 p.m. with Cincinnati right-hander Tyler Mahle (0-4, 4.09 earned-run average) facing right-hander Mike Fiers (2-3, 6.81).
Fifteen homers ties the franchise record for the most in a series. They also hit 15 in a three-game series at Philadelphia Sept. 3-5, 1999, including a club-record nine in a 22-3 win.
The start of the game was delayed 18 minutes by a swarm of bees gathered near the backstop screen. Anthony DeSclafani couldn’t throw his first pitch until the bees moved off toward the third base stands.
This wasn’t the first time bees delayed Reds home games. A game against the Giants on April 17, 1976, was held up for 35 minutes when bees swarmed the visitors’ dugout. The Reds-Phillies game on May 11, 1987, was delayed 18 minute by another swarm.
Infielder Derek Dietrich, getting the day off despite having hit a combined four homers in the three previous games, took deep bows during the bee delay after coming on the field dressed in a “pest control” outfit complete with extermination equipment and making a show of spraying the invaders.
San Francisco starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz had allowed only a combined three runs in 17-1/3 innings over three previous starts against the Reds before they scored five against the left-hander while collecting five hits and sending nine batters to the plate in the first. They added two in the second on four hits before Giants manager Bruce Bochy took him out.
Bochy, who has announced that he’s retiring after this season, was honored by the Reds before the game in a brief on-field ceremony that included Reds manager giving his Giants counterpart two gift-wrapped boxes.
Senzel hit both of his home runs the opposite way to right field, while Suarez followed Joey Votto’s infield hit with a blast that cleared the just over the 387-foot marker in left-center field.
Pablo Sandoval smacked a three-run homer off DeSclafani in the sixth, but Cincinnati added five in the bottom of the inning a 10-batter frame that included four batters being hit by pitches, two with the bases loaded. Four batters being hit by pitches in one inning ties the major league record set by the Boston Braves when they had four batters plunked by Pittsburgh pitchers on Aug. 19, 1893.
Jose Peraza was hit again in the eighth by Sandoval, setting the single-game club record and tying the National record for most batters hit by pitches.
DeSclafani finished six innings and tied his season high with eight strikeouts.
Peraza handled two chances flawlessly during his first start of the season in left field.