Mike Leake has gotten stronger every year, and his fastball velocity has increased as a result. Even so, he still doesn’t know where all those strikeouts came from.
Leake allowed four hits in eight innings and had a career-high 12 strikeouts in the Cincinnati Reds’ 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night.
”It didn’t feel like that many,” said Leake, who allowed one run and walked one, which was intentional. ”But I guess it’s a big accomplishment. I’m not high on strikeouts.”
Brandon Phillips had three hits, including a home run and double, and scored twice in his return to the lineup for the Reds, who won their fifth in six games.
In FOX Sports Ohio’s postgame interview, Phillips, who missed the last three games with a bruised heel, said he’s a "Momma’s boy." The second baseman also claimed he lied to his mother, who flew in for the game, saying he wasn’t going to play (See video above).
But back to Leake.
Cincinnati manager Bryan Price thinks Leake (6-6) could be a strikeout pitcher if that was his goal.
”He’s pretty consistent hitting 93, 94 mph with his fastball,” said the former pitching coach. ”That’s not a fastball you have to apologize for. He could throw more pitches and be less effective but strike out more guys.”
Leake, still looking for his first major-league shutout, didn’t try to talk his way onto the mound for the ninth. He hasn’t pitched a complete game in nearly two years.
Aroldis Chapman worked the ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances.
”We have a good closer, why not use him?” Leake said.
Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier each added two hits for the Reds. Bruce doubled in the seventh and has an extra-base hit in each of his last seven games, the longest streak by a Reds player since Dave Parker did it in eight straight in 1986.
”We seem to play well here,” Bruce said. ”With this pitching staff, if you put runs on the board, you have a chance.”
Adam Duvall, making his major-league debut, hit a home run for the Giants, who lost for the 12th time in 16 games.
Ryan Vogelsong (5-4) allowed a run on five hits over six innings one day after Tim Lincecum threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. He struck out seven and walked one.
”I rubbed up against him before the game, but it didn’t work,” Vogelsong said. ”I just wasn’t good enough.”
Jean Machi, who allowed Phillips’ home run leading off the seventh, had his scoreless streak end at 25 1/3 innings.
Zack Cozart and Ryan Ludwick also drove in runs for the Reds, who have won eight of their last 10 games, including playoffs, in San Francisco.
The Reds ended a scoreless duel with a run in the fifth. Phillips led off with a single, and two outs later, Cozart doubled him home.
Bruce followed Phillips’ homer with a double and scored on Ludwick’s single.
Duvall hit a 0-2 pitch from Leake into the left-field bleachers to put the Giants on the scoreboard.
”That’s a feeling I’ll never forget running the bases,” Duvall said. ”I tried to tell myself it was the same game, just a bigger crowd.”
Leake allowed a two-out double to Buster Posey in the first and then retired 15 of the next 16 hitters before Hunter Pence’s triple in the sixth. Leake improved to 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA in four starts at AT&T Park.
The Giants also threw out two runners at home. Billy Hamilton tried to score on Devin Mesoraco‘s shallow fly to second baseman Joe Panik in the sixth, and Brandon Crawford nailed Mesoracso trying to score on Phillips’ double to center field in the eighth.
Frazier has a 13-game hitting streak against the Giants. … Chapman has at least one strikeout in each of his last 33 appearances, the longest active streak by a reliever and the fourth longest since 1900. … Reds LHP Tony Cingrani, optioned to Triple A Louisville on Friday, was placed on the minor-league disabled list with a strained shoulder. That came as a surprise to the Reds, who sent him down to work. … RHP Johnny Cueto (7-5, 1.86), the major-league leader in ERA, pitches for the Reds on Friday night. He’s won his last two decisions. … LHP Madison Bumgarner (9-4, 2.63) goes for the Giants. He’s 2-2 in five starts against the Reds. … Giants 1B Michael Morse was scratched because of illness. … Duvall became the 11th Giant since 1958 to homer in his first game. … The Junior Giants Stretch Drive Fund, created in honor of Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, began Thursday to help provide baseball programs in 90 underserved communities. For more information, click here.