CINCINNATI — Tim Lincecum was slipping around on the mound — even slid to his knee on one delivery. Something bad seems to happen to the Giants when they visit Cincinnati.
Marlon Byrd hit a bases-loaded single off Lincecum and a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning Thursday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-3 victory over San Francisco.
The Reds have won 12 of their last 15 regular-season games against the Giants at Great American Ball Park. The Giants will remember this one for their wasted scoring chances against Johnny Cueto and their own slipping starter.
“You get your chances against a guy like that, you've got to take full advantage of it,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I don't think we did there.”
The best they could do was deny Cueto the win.
Byrd's two-run single off Lincecum put Cueto in position for the victory. He turned a 3-2 lead over to the NL's worst bullpen in the eighth, and it got away.
Joe Panik tripled with one out — extending his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games — and scored on Angel Pagan's single off Tony Cingrani to tie it at 3. Jumbo Diaz (2-0) retired the last two batters to end the inning.
Byrd connected off Sergio Romo (0-2) with one out in the eighth, his eighth homer of the season. Aroldis Chapman fanned two of the three batters in the ninth for his seventh save in as many chances.
Lincecum brought a streak of 15 scoreless innings into the game, but had trouble keeping his footing. Lincecum walked five, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and gave up three runs in only 4 2/3 innings.
“It was a little slippery, a little muddy,” Lincecum said. “That's just the deal with 30-some odd mounds. You've got to make the adjustment and I didn't.
“It more mentally got a hold of me. Again, that's on me. I've just got to tighten my focus.”
Both starters had long first innings.
Cueto gave up a pair of hits, including Buster Posey's RBI single, while throwing 23 pitches. Lincecum bounced his first pitch and walked three consecutive batters with two outs before Jay Bruce flied out to the warning track in center on his 32nd pitch.
Gregor Blanco doubled off Cueto in the third, advanced on a groundout and scored on Cueto's fourth balk, the most in the majors.
Lincecum gave up a double to Todd Frazier in the fourth, then slipped to his knee while throwing ball four to Byrd — his back foot slid off the rubber during the delivery. Brayan Pena's RBI single ended Lincecum's scoreless inning streak at 18 and cut it to 2-1.
The Reds loaded the bases in the fifth, and Byrd hit an opposite-field single for a 3-2 lead on Lincecum's 99th and final pitch.