San Francisco, CA – Mat Latos threw a two-hitter Saturday for his second complete game in a row, retiring 18 consecutive batters at one point to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants.
Latos (7-2) set down every Giants hitter between Brandon Crawford's one-out double in the third inning and Brandon Belt's one-out triple in the ninth, becoming the first Reds pitcher since 2006 to throw back-to-back complete games.
The 24-year-old struck out seven and walked none, improving to 7-0 in his last 13 starts. Belt scored, ruining Latos' chance at his second career shutout.
Ryan Hanigan, who also caught Latos' complete game Monday against Milwaukee, said he and the right-hander have been on the same page as to exactly where they want pitches thrown.
"We're really getting into a tempo," he said. "I think we trust each other. We really know what our plan is so there's no guessing."
Mike Leake also pitched a complete game Friday as the Reds have won two in a row in the four-game series after being shut out in the opener.
Cincinnati hitters were patient against Giants starter Barry Zito, who walked six in the loss. Zito (6-6) gave up a run on five hits in six innings.
The Giants have lost back-to-back games since their four-game shutout streak. Zack Cozart homered off Matt Cain on the first pitch of Friday's 5-1 win to end the 36-inning stretch.
Reds first baseman Joey Votto left Saturday's game for precautionary reasons with inflammation in his left knee. The former MVP labored to first base on a ground ball out in the fifth and was replaced in the field by Miguel Cairo, who later delivered an RBI single.
Zito gave up a one-out single to Brandon Phillips in the fourth inning, then walked Ryan Ludwick, Todd Frazier and Hanigan on 15 pitches with two outs to force in the game's first run.
Latos retired the first seven Giants hitters until Crawford's double in the third -- the only baserunner he allowed through the first 8 1/3 innings.
"We knew we had our work cut out," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "He has been tough on us but we've had some good games against him. We've seen him enough; we knew what we were going into."
Zito, still shaky, escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth on a lucky double play.
He walked Cozart and Drew Stubbs to start the inning, got Votto on a ground ball and then intentionally walked Phillips. But Jay Bruce's liner was snared by Crawford at short, and Stubbs was doubled off second after running too far from the bag.
Cozart doubled against George Kontos leading off the seventh inning, but had to stay at second when Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval made a diving grab on Stubbs' popped-up bunt near the mound. Cairo followed with a single up the middle, however, to make it 2-0.
After Belt tripled to deep right-center in the ninth, he scored on Gregor Blanco's ground out for the only Giants run.
Aaron Harang was the last Reds pitcher to throw consecutive complete games, on Sept. 24 and 29, 2006...The Reds are 10-4 in the last 14 meetings between the teams...The Giants are 4-2 on a seven-game homestand.