That Man Tucker Beats Giants Again

From Associated Press

No matter what uniform he's in, Michael Tucker always seems to wear out the San Francisco Giants.

Tucker hurt the Giants again Sunday, homering in the top of the 14th inning off struggling closer Robb Nen to lift the Cincinnati Reds past the Giants, 2-1.

"It's tough to lose a game like today," San Francisco Manager Dusty Baker said. "Robb threw the ball well. He just left a ball over the plate. Tucker has been a thorn in our side since he was with Atlanta. They saved him for the right time."

Tucker, traded from Atlanta to Cincinnati as part of the Denny Neagle trade in the offseason, is hitting .400 lifetime against the Giants. He had 12 hits in 24 at bats (.500) with five homers against the Giants while with Atlanta last season.

"I have no idea," Tucker said. "Coming to this ballpark, you know you aren't going to hit a lot of home runs. The wind is blowing all the time. Usually, the wind blows in and knocks balls down. This time, I guess it happened to be blowing out."

The wind might have helped, but Tucker also made solid contact with the pitch from Nen (3-5), who retired the first two batters he faced before Tucker drove an 0-1 pitch over the center-field wall.

"It was not good location," said Nen, who had his sixth blown save of the season Saturday when he gave up three ninth-inning runs to the Reds. "I got the pitch I was looking for. It just didn't do what I wanted it to do."

The Giants lost for the eighth time in 11 games since the All-Star break. Nen has epitomized those struggles, going 0-3 with two blown saves and an earned-run average of 11.11 in six outings covering 5 2/3 innings since the break.

The Reds had a chance to win it in the top of the 10th. Jerry Spradlin's two-out walk to Greg Vaughn loaded the bases, but Barry Larkin grounded into a force play to end the inning.

The Giants loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth when reliever Scott Sullivan hit pinch-hitter Ellis Burks and Marvin Benard, and reliever Dennis Reyes issued a two-out walk to Barry Bonds. Reyes then struck out J.T. Snow to get out of the jam.

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