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Johnny Cueto masterful before injury as San Francisco Giants shutout Cincinnati Reds

Apr 14, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (9) is caught stealing second base by Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India (6) during the sixth inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 14, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (9) is caught stealing second base by Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India (6) during the sixth inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Cueto took a shutout into the sixth inning before leaving with a lat injury and four San Francisco relievers got the final 10 outs to complete a four-hitter Wednesday afternoon, delivering the Giants a 3-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Austin Slater doubled home the game’s first run in the fifth and scored moments later on a fielder’s choice to produce all the offense the Giants would need in taking two of three from the Reds.

Facing his old team for just the fourth time in his career, Cueto (2-0) was brilliant after allowing a game-opening single to Jesse Winker. He retired 17 of the next 19 batters he faced before cringing on the final pitch of striking out Nicholas Castellanos with two outs in the sixth.

The Giants’ trainer rushed to the mound, and by the time manager Gabe Kapler got there, Cueto had decided he was done for the day.

The issue was later diagnosed as a lat injury and no immediate word was given as to how long the 35-year-old might be out.

Cueto, who came within one strike of pitching his first complete game in five years in the homestand opener last Friday against Colorado, allowed three hits and no walks in his 5 2/3 innings. He struck out four.

Caleb Baragar got the final out of the sixth before Logan Webb, Tyler Rogers and Jake McGee faced just 10 batters to get the last nine outs. McGee earned his sixth save despite allowing his first hit of the season — a two-out, two-strike single to Joey Votto.

He then struck Eugenio Suarez to end the game and improve his scoreless streak for the season to 7 1/3 innings over eight games.

Tyler Mahle (1-1) was the hard-luck loser for the Reds. He retired the first 10 batters he faced and took a no-hitter into the fifth before Donovan Solano singled to right field.

After Brandon Crawford forced Solano at second, Slater launched his rocket to right-center, allowing Crawford to scamper the 270 feet to the game’s first run.

A passed ball allowed Slater to move to third, from where he beat a throw home on Curt Casali’s grounder to third to complete the two-run inning.

Mahle was pulled after five innings, charged with two runs (one earned) on three hits. He walked one and struck out seven.

Mauricio Dubon’s two-out RBI single scored Evan Longoria, who had walked, with an insurance run in the eighth.

The game featured just 10 hits — six by the Giants, including two by Solano. Slater and the Reds’ Mike Moustakas had the game’s only extra-base hits with a double apiece.

–Field Level Media