Offense’s disappearing act leaves Giants on cusp of elimination

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The stunning thing about the Giants’ success this year was the way the offense fueled the team in the second half, even with All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera gone due to suspension.

The Giants ranked third in the NL with 380 runs scored in the second half. Only the Brewers (392) and Nationals (383) were better, and no other team was within 20 runs of San Francisco.

The pitching wasn’t bad either, ranking sixth with 303 runs allowed during the same span. However, considering that AT&T played as a very good pitcher’s park this year, the offense was even better than the raw run total suggests, while the pitching wasn’t quite as good.

Unfortunately, through two games against the Reds, the Giants haven’t gotten a lot of hitting or pitching. Still, it’s the offense that’s been especially disappointing, particularly after the Giants caught a break in Game 1 when Johnny Cueto left in the first. Completely unable to capitalize, the Giants scored just two runs then and were later shut out by Bronson Arroyo and company on Sunday.

Summer acquisition Hunter Pence has been the biggest culprit, racking up dreadful at-bats behind Buster Posey in the order. He’s 0-for-8 so far. The lineup’s first three hitters — Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval — are a combined 3-for-26.

Changes seem unlikely. The two most vulnerable players in the Giants’ order — first baseman Brandon Belt and left fielder Gregor Blanco — have actually looked the best of anyone besides Posey. Belt walked twice Saturday and had the only hit off Arroyo on Sunday. Blanco was 2-for-3 with a walk Saturday. No one else is likely to suddenly take a seat.

The Giants are probably doomed now, but perhaps the change of scenery to Cincinnati will do the team some good. The Giants hit 31 homers and averaged 3.8 runs per game at home this year, compared to 72 homers and 5.1 runs per game on the road.

Cardinals activate Greg Holland from disabled list

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The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that reliever Greg Holland has been activated from the 10-day disabled list. Reliever Matt Bowman heads back to the DL with blisters on his right middle finger.

Holland, 32, has been out of action since late May due to a right hip impingement. Holland signed a one-year, $14 million deal with the Cardinals at the end of March, but it hasn’t been going well. He has given up 15 runs (14 earned) on 20 hits and 15 walks with 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings this season.

Bowman, 27, missed about a month between May 17 and June 14 due to blister issues. He appeared in only three games before heading back. Bowman gave up two runs and recorded two outs in Monday’s 6-5 walk-off loss to the Phillies.