San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ty Blach (50) talks with San Francisco Giants catcher Nick Hundley (5) at the mound against the Cincinnati Reds at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California, on May 11, 2017. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Ty Blach redeems himself against Reds — but Giants lose due to lack of hitting, bullpen

AT&T PARK — A week ago in Cincinnati, San Francisco Giants pitcher Ty Blach had the worst start of his young career by allowing 10 runs and lasting just three innings.

Thursday’s return to The City offered an opportunity for redemption for the 26-year-old lefty. Blach delivered with a solid seven-inning outing, allowing a pair of runs on five hits and a walk.

“It gives you a little motivation to know that, hey, you want to prove you can get those guys out,” Blach said after the game.

But, as has been the case all season for the struggling Giants, the offense wasn’t able to provide its starter with enough support to give him a realistic shot at winning. Combine that with a reliever allowing a run in a high-leverage situation and you get a 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, who have won their last four games against the orange and black.

It was Billy Hamilton who again did most of the damage, hitting a pair of singles that would lead to runs.

Hunter Strickland entered the game in the eighth inning to protect a 2-2 tie. He allowed a leadoff triple to pinch hitter Scooter Gennett on an 0-2 count. A well-struck double by Zack Cozart two hitters later and the Giants were playing catch up.

They were able to put men on the corners in the bottom of the ninth, but Brandon Belt — who hit his first home run at AT&T Park of the season in the first — flew out to left to end the game.

SEE ALSO: Span, Crawford return

The challenges of facing Billy Hamilton

Hamilton is the fastest player in the MLB — possibly, ever. When he gets on base, it forces pitchers to completely rethink their approach.

Blach on those mental challenges:

Melancon injury muddies bullpen roles

One of the main reasons why the Giants made signing a top-flight closer like Mark Melancon a priority in the offseason was Bochy’s affinity for clear roles in the bullpen.

Melancon’s forearm strain has put that back in flux.

Bruce Bochy said it’s going to take some trial and error in figuring out who will take the ninth inning while his closer is absent, but that he’s not worried about it long term.

“If this was last week of September, [Melancon] probably wouldn’t be on the DL,” Bochy said.

What’s disappointed Bochy

The Giants have had to endure a lot in the early going of this season. There’s been the on-field meltdowns, those will happen. But losing your ace to a preventable injury during one of those skids can add some mental pressure on a baseball team.

Bochy hasn’t been happy with how his team has reacted to the odd events so far.

“Every team goes through injuries — we have had our share, you lose your opening day starter and your closer and shortstop — but you have to deal with that. It’s part of the game,” Bochy said. “Hopefully you’ve created enough depth to overcome that, but right now, we haven’t shown that. That’s what disappointed me: Maybe mentally, we have let it affect us.”

jpalmer@sfexaminer.com

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