By Mark Schmetzer
CINCINNATI — When Jake Peavy can’t beat the Cincinnati Reds, he’s struggling.
He lost to the Reds for the first time Wednesday, allowing home runs by Brandon Phillips, Eugenio Suarez, Zack Cozart and Adam Duvall in the San Francisco Giants’ 7-4 loss. Three of the home runs were hit in the second, when Cincinnati took a 5-1 lead.
“Poor execution,” Peavy said. “It was tough in the second inning. There’s a couple of pitches I’d like to get back. I really feel like I settled down and executed pitches after that.”
Peavy (1-3) allowed seven runs and eight hits in six innings with eight strikeouts and one walk, raising his ERA to 9.00 in six starts. He had been 7-0 with a 2.38 ERA in 12 starts against the Reds.
“He’s as tough as there is,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who also managed Peavy in San Diego. “He’s hard on himself, harder than anybody. He’s been through it before. The old adage is it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. He’ll get it right and get on a roll here.”
Peavy believes he knows how to get back on track.
“Just finding that rhythm and staying in it,” he said. “It’s not a matter of my stuff. It comes down to execution. The swing-and-miss stuff looks fine, to the point of punching out eight today. It’s a matter of execution.”
Dan Straily (1-1) overcame solo homers by Brandon Belt and Conor Gillaspie for his first major league win since April 10, 2014, with Oakland. Cincinnati avoided getting swept in the three-game series.
Straily, claimed from the Padres off waivers on April 1, gave up three runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings, helping stop the Giants’ three-game winning streak.
Phillips led off the second inning with his second homer of the season and first in 22 games since April 8. Suarez and Cozart followed with two-run drives, giving the Reds as many runs in one inning as they had scored against Peavy in any of his previous 12 career starts.
The three-homer inning was the first of Peavy’s 15-year big career. He’d allowed just two in his previous five starts .
Joey Votto doubled leading off the third and scored on Suarez’s two-out single for a 6-1 lead. Duvall hit his fourth homer of the season in the sixth.
Peavy rebounded to retiring 10 of his last 11 batters.
“He couldn’t stop it in the second,” Bochy said. “After that, he was more like Jake. He battled and ended up giving us some needed innings. He regrouped. His stuff’s fine. He’s healthy. The ball was flying today.”
Mac Williamson and Denard Span hit consecutive two-out doubles in the ninth off Ross Ohlendorf. Cincinnati’s bullpen has given up runs in a big league record 22 consecutive games.
Giants: RHP Sergio Romo, on the disabled list since April 15 with a flexor strain in his pitching arm, played catch at 90 feet on flat ground.
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton, who left Tuesday’s game after aggravating his jammed left thumb, entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth. The only thing Hamilton’s injury keeps him from doing is gripping a bat.
Giants: RHP Matt Cain (0-3) is the scheduled starter for Thursday’s opener of a four-game home series against Colorado.
Reds: RHP Alfredo Simon (0-3) makes his sixth appearance and fifth start of the season in Thursday’s opener of a four-game series against Milwaukee. The Reds are 0-5 when Simon pitches.