Ashcraft lifts Reds over Giants amid Kapler anthem protest

Cincinnati Reds' Graham Ashcraft throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the San Francisco Giants in Cincinnati, Friday, May 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

CINCINNATI (AP) — Rookie right-hander Graham Ashcraft earned his first victory with six strong innings and the Cincinnati Reds beat San Francisco 5-1 Friday night following a political protest by Giants manager Gabe Kapler and a scuffle between Tommy Pham and Joc Pederson.

Kapler refused to take the field for the national anthem, a demonstration of his frustration with the country’s political direction following this week’s school shooting in Texas.

Meanwhile, the Reds’ Pham and Giants’ Pederson had a brief altercation on the field pregame. Major League Baseball is investigating the incident, and Pham was scratched after a pregame rain delay of 2 hours, 8 minutes pending the results of that inquiry.

Kapler endured an embarassing moment in the eighth, when he brought in left-hander Jake McGee from the bullpen, then had to replace him because McGee wasn’t on San Francisco’s lineup card. McGee was reinstated from the IL before the game but had to exit after beginning his warmup tosses on the mound. Left-hander Jose Alvarez then entered the game for San Francisco.

Ashcraft (1-0) pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his second big league start. He threw first-pitch strikes to his first 12 batters, limiting San Francisco to four hits and two walks while striking out two.

Matt Reynolds had an RBI double in the third and later scored on a check-swing single by Tyler Stephenson. Brandon Drury added a solo homer in the fifth, his eighth of the season.

Carlos Rodon (4-4) allowed three runs on seven hits. The Giants scored two combined runs over his last two starts, both defeats.

Art Warren got five outs for his third save.

Albert Almora Jr. added an RBI double in the ninth for Cincinnati. Later in the inning, a bases-loaded catcher’s interference call on Joey Bart allowed Nick Senzel to reach, forcing in the Reds’ fifth run.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto was given a day off after seven straight starts since an 18-day layoff with COVID-19. Mike Moustakas started at first base.


Giants: C Curt Casali is expected to come off the 7-day concussion list Saturday. … 1B Brandon Belt (right knee inflammation) is eligible to come off the 10-day IL on Sunday but will need a few more days.

Reds: LHP Mike Minor threw six innings in a minor league rehab start and remains on track to rejoin the rotation next week. He’s been on the IL all season with a left shoulder strain.


LHP Alex Wood (3-3, 4.82) will start the second game of the series for the Giants. The Reds had not yet named a starter for Saturday and might use an opener.