Reds send a pair of rookies to start DH
The Cincinnati Reds certainly felt at home at AT&T Park in the opener of this four-game series.
Now, it'll be official.
The Reds go for another big offensive performance as they try to continue their success against the San Francisco Giants in this unusual doubleheader Tuesday night.
Cincinnati (56-43) is among the best home teams in baseball at 32-17. The Reds will get a chance to build on that despite being in San Francisco, since they're considered the host in the second game of this twin bill - the makeup of a July 4 rainout in Cincinnati.
The venue hasn't mattered much to the Reds, who have won 11 of 14 in the regular season versus the Giants (45-53) while batting .283 and averaging 5.2 runs.
Cincinnati beat them again Monday, collecting 17 hits - nine for extra bases - in an 11-0 victory to remain perfect in four meetings this season with San Francisco.
"I couldn't have ordered it up any better than that," manager Dusty Baker said.
Shin-Soo Choo has been a big part of that success against the Giants this year, going 6 for 12 over the past three games after he had a double and a solo homer Monday.
That's all part of the center fielder's 16-game hitting streak, which started with two hits in a 3-0 home win over the Giants on July 2. He's batting .431 with 15 runs during the stretch, which includes multi-hit performances in eight of his last nine games.
While Choo attempts to continue pacing the offense, the Reds are hoping Tony Cingrani (3-1, 3.23 ERA) can get this doubleheader off to a strong start in his first appearance since the All-Star break.
The rookie left-hander has a 2.70 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 16 2-3 innings over his last three starts, but limited offensive support has left him with an 0-1 record.
He allowed two runs over 5 2-3 innings against San Francisco on July 3, an eventual 3-2, 11-inning win.
The Giants will counter with Eric Surkamp, who is making his first start since Tommy John surgery cut his rookie season short in July 2011. The left-hander, who went 2-2 with a 5.74 ERA in six starts that season before getting hurt, was 2-0 with a 4.00 ERA in nine minor league starts this year.
"Coming off surgery, you're going to have your ups and downs," Surkamp told the team's official website. "My arm is back to 100 percent, but repeating (the delivery) is still part of the process.
"It's been a long year. ... You can't really say it's just another game."
Barry Zito (4-7, 4.88) may share that feeling when he takes the mound wearing a road uniform in the nightcap. The left-hander is 0-6 with a 9.89 ERA in eight road starts, but being at AT&T Park may be just what he needs to end that slide.
He's 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 games there. However, he hasn't defeated the Reds since a home victory Aug. 8, 2009, going 0-3 with a 3.74 ERA in seven games - six starts.
The Reds will oppose Zito with right-hander Greg Reynolds, who hasn't appeared in the majors since going 3-0 with a 6.19 ERA in 13 games - three starts - with Colorado in 2011 after being drafted second overall five years earlier.
"I think it's more gratifying this time around," Reynolds told the team's official website. "I definitely had to fight my way to get back. I'm excited about this opportunity. I'm glad the Reds are giving it to me. I will give them everything I've got."
Reynolds, a native of nearby Pacifica, went 10-2 with a 2.53 ERA in 18 starts at Triple-A Louisville.