SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Rookie right-hander Graham Ashcraft bounced back from two poor starts, pitching a career-high eight innings to help the Cincinnati Reds stop their seven-game losing streak Friday night with a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Nick Senzel drove in two runs and Mike Moustakas scored twice to pace the Cincinnati offense.
Ashcraft (4-1) gave up only a two-out homer to Evan Longoria in the fourth inning and an RBI single to Mike Yastrzemski in the eighth. The latter followed a double-play comebacker Ashcraft induced from Tommy La Stella to dampen a potential Giants rally.
“That changed the inning,” Ashcraft said.
He appreciated the decision by manager David Bell to leave him in for the eighth.
“That shows he’s starting to get trust in me,” Ashcraft said.
Hunter Strickland worked the ninth against his former team for his third save.
“Like I told some of the guys: Strickland and I were hanging out last night, and he said, `You’re going to go eight, and I’m gonna come in for the ninth and shut them out,”’ Ashcraft said.
Ashcraft permitted six hits and walked none while striking out eight. He gave up 10 runs and 17 hits over 9 2/3 innings in his previous two starts.
“I was able to locate my fastball and I was beating them with it,” Ashcraft said. “I was mixing in sliders, and that was throwing them off and keeping them on their toes.”
San Francisco’s last 10 games, six of them defeats, have been decided by two runs or fewer. These were the type of games the Giants won routinely last season on the way to a franchise-best 107-55 record.
“I think it’s fairly straightforward — making one more play. We probably made that one more play last year,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Getting that one more hit. We…