CINCINNATI — At the end of one of the worst trips in franchise history, the Giants finally caught a bit of a break.
They were rained out.
The rain started early Thursday morning in Cincinnati and never let up. After two hours and 20 minutes of waiting, the Giants and Cincinnati Reds postponed the finale of a four-game series. No makeup date was announced.
The Giants have lost 11 of their past 13 games and had only seven hits in the first three games of this series. Matt Cain was scheduled to pitch, but the Giants would have faced Mike Leake (7-3, 2.52 ERA) without Buster Posey (rest) and Marco Scutaro (back tightness) and with a lineup full of slumping hitters.
In the clubhouse, several players said they were just happy that the persistent rain scuttled the original plan. Major League Baseball had planned on turning the 1:10 p.m. local time start into an evening start, meaning the Giants would have returned to San Francisco late Thursday night in advance of a three-game series against the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers.
Instead, the Giants got out of town earlier than they expected and will throw Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Chad Gaudin at the Dodgers. As one person in the clubhouse said on the way out of Great American Ball Park, "This is as good as a win." On this trip, the Giants will take small victories any way they can get them.
The 1-8 trip was the club's first since September of 2006 and included two walk-off losses and a no-hitter by Reds right-hander Homer Bailey. The trip started with the Giants finding out that leadoff hitter Angel Pagan would be out until September because of hamstring surgery. The Giants were then swept by the Dodgers and beaten twice in three games by the Colorado Rockies. They were outscored 14-3 while losing three games to the Reds.
In the eight losses on the trip, the Giants played 74 innings and led at the conclusion of an inning only three times.
"The guys are going through a tough stretch here," manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday morning as the Giants faced another long day. "(Rain) is the last thing we wanted to see happen."
The Reds visit the Giants from July 22-24 and the game could be added as part of a doubleheader, but that option would not be very appealing to a Reds franchise that would lose a home game. The Giants finish a series in Denver on Aug. 28 and the Reds open in Denver on Aug. 30, so the teams could play at Coors Field on Aug. 29 or play that day in Cincinnati. That option was viewed as unsavory because it would mean both teams would play on 34 straight days. The collective bargaining agreement states that teams cannot play more than 20 consecutive days, and Cain, the player representative, said he had not been approached about waiving that rule.
The final and most likely option would be to play Sept. 30 in Cincinnati, the day after the regular season ends.
To make sure that last option even matters, the Giants will need to improve their play on the road. Since clinching a series sweep in Phoenix on May 1, the Giants are 7-22 on the road, a pace that won't allow them to be competitive as the summer heats up.
But Thursday, that wasn't a concern. The Giants play 15 of the next 19 games at AT&T Park, and even after the terrible trip they remain right in the race in the National League West. The Giants started the trip three games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks and were four games behind when they boarded their flight to San Francisco.