CINCINNATI (AP) — Bees swarmed home plate. A rookie hit two homers. A third baseman wound up pitching. Reds batters got plunked at a record rate in a lopsided win.
Bruce Bochy sure has some memories from his final game at Great American Ball Park.
Nick Senzel hit a leadoff homer after a swarm of bees finally left home plate, and the rookie connected again his next time up Monday, leading Cincinnati to a 12-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants that was strewn with far more oddities than just an insect infestation.
“Whew,” the Giants manager said, rubbing both eyes with his fists.
The wild game included a record-tying four Reds getting plunked in one inning. Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval pitched the eighth and also hit a batter, matching another record.
By that time, Bochy wasn’t the only one with tired eyes.
The first pitch was delayed 18 minutes as bees swarmed above the backstop screen, prompting umpires and players to keep a safe distance.
“I’ve never seen that,” Senzel said. “That was crazy. I didn’t know what was going on at first. Then I saw the swarm.”
It was the Giants’ second bee delay in Cincinnati. Their game at Riverfront Stadium on April 17, 1976, was held up for 35 minutes when bees invaded the visiting dugout. Another game at Riverfront — this one against the Phillies — was delayed for 17 minutes in 1987, with Reds starter Ted Power getting stung on his hand.
Senzel was a focus of a series between the NL’s two least-productive offenses. The second overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft was called up to help spark an offense batting .207, worst in the majors.
He connected on the second pitch by Drew Pomeranz (1-4) and homered again in the second inning for a 6-0 lead. Senzel went 4 for 17 in the series with three solo homers. He is the first Reds rookie to hit three homers in his first four games.
“I honestly don’t feel like it’s going well,” said Senzel, who also struck out three times and hit into a double play. “I’m still getting to where I want to be. There’s a lot of room for growth.”
Pomeranz lasted only 1 2/3 innings and gave up seven runs for the first time since 2014. Jose Iglesias had a single, double and triple and drove in four runs.
“Just one of those days,” Pomeranz said. “A lot of runs scored this whole series, a lot of balls flying out, a lot of balls dropping in.”
Giants starters gave up 27 runs in the four-game series, leaving the bullpen depleted. Bochy had to go longer with some of his relievers Monday, and the strain showed.
Four Reds were hit by pitches during the sixth inning — two with the bases loaded — to tie the major league record for an inning set in 1893. Pat Venditte hit three of them.
When Sandoval made his second career pitching appearance and plunked Jose Peraza in the eighth inning, it tied the NL record and set a Reds’ modern record of five batters hit in a game.
Anthony DeSclafani (2-1) gave up four runs, including Sandoval’s three-run homer, in six innings.
The Reds hit 15 homers during the series, tying the club record for a series. They also hit 15 during a three-game series against the Phillies in 1999 that included a nine-homer, 22-3 win.
OH THE MEMORIES
Bochy also witnessed another odd moment in the ballpark’s history. A home run smokestack in the outfield caught fire during a game in 2016, prompting the evacuation of fans in two sections. Bochy is retiring after the season. The Reds honored him on the field pregame, before the bees moved in.
The series split left the two last-place teams with matching 15-20 records.
OUT IN LEFT FIELD
Reds manager David Bell decided to start middle infielder Jose Peraza in left field for the first time this season. Peraza had started in left field eight other times in his career.
Giants: Evan Longoria got another day to rest his sore shoulder. He has missed the last three games.
Reds: Scooter Gennett is not able to jog yet because of a groin injury suffered during spring training. Gennett is on the 60-day disabled list. There is no timetable for his return.
Giants: San Francisco opens a series in Colorado with left-hander Madison Bumgarner (1-4) facing the only team he has beaten this season. He gave up two runs in seven innings of a 5-2 win over the Rockies on April 13 in San Francisco.
Reds: Tyler Mahle (0-4) makes his first career start in Oakland. The Athletics are 11-8 against the Reds in the regular season.