SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tim Hudson delivered a strong pitching performance and it still resulted in another loss for the reeling San Francisco Giants.
Homer Bailey made a strong bid for yet another no-hitter, shutting down San Francisco until Buster Posey’s two-out single in the seventh inning and pitching the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-0 win Sunday.
The Reds completed their first four-game sweep in San Francisco since 1972 at Candlestick Park. The Giants, who had led the NL West by 9 1/2 games, have lost 15 of 19 and dropped into a virtual tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Fortunately, it’s baseball,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We have to be thankful to a good start. As bad as things are, we have to consider ourselves fortunate to be where we are.”
The Giants have the worst record in baseball since June 9, the day a five-game winning streak ended that began with a pair of wins in Cincinnati.
San Francisco was swept in a four-game series for the first time in its ballpark that opened in 2000.
Bailey (8-4) finished with a three-hitter.
Bailey has thrown no-hitters in each of the last two seasons, and did it against the Giants at home last July 2. He came close to pitching the latest gem at AT&T Park – the ballpark was the scene of Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter Wednesday against San Diego.
“It was a tough game for us,” Hudson said. “Bailey has been tough on us in the past and he was good again. We have to keep grinding it out.”
Hudson (7-5) allowed two runs on five hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out six. He’s lost his last two starts at home after opening the season with seven straight wins.
“My delivery felt a lot better and my timing was good,” Hudson said. “They had one or two opportunities to score and they took advantage. I felt like I made a pretty good pitch on Hamilton. Every little run counts in a game like this.”
Billy Hamilton’s two-out double in the third drove in the Reds’ first run, and with the way Hudson was pitching – he retired 12 of 13 following the double – Bailey needed to be nearly perfect.
“We come in here every day with a pretty good attitude,” Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “Every day we come ready to win. We’re just not winning games right now and that happens sometimes.”
Bailey walked Gregor Blanco leading off the fourth, but later caught him taking off early for third base and threw him out.
That was all the Giants got until Posey singled cleanly to right-center field. Pablo Sandoval’s bloop single moved Posey to third, but Bailey struck out Michael Morse looking to end the inning.
“They caught everything we hit,” Bochy said. “They are as hot as any team, and as cold as we are, it’s what we have to deal with.”
The Reds tacked on three runs in the ninth against Jeremy Affledt, who took over for Hudson after Todd Frazier started the frame with a single.
NOTES: Bochy announced before the game he would be going with a closer-by-committee for the time being, with RHP Sergio Romo in the mix. “I think it’s time to tweak it a little bit, get guys on track,” Bochy said. … Giants 1B Brandon Belt (thumb) could rejoin the team Friday in San Diego, but not likely before then. … Lincecum (6-5, 4.42) makes his first start since throwing his second career no-hitter. He’ll face the Cardinals and Marco Gonzales (0-0, 9.00) on Tuesday night.