Then All-Star catcher Buster Posey stepped into the batter's box against Cingrani and changed everything.
Posey smashed a three-run home run to tie the game in the third inning, and the Giants would tack on five runs in the game to cruise to an 8-5 victory at Goodyear Ballpark.
Giants starter Tim Hudson and third baseman Joaquin Arias scored on Posey's home run, his first of spring, to erase a 3-0 deficit. Ehire Adrianza's two-run home run in the fourth gave the Giants a 5-3 lead, and Posey drove home Arias with a double for San Francisco's sixth run to cap off the inning.
Posey finished the afternoon 3-for-3 with four RBIs. He is hitting .412 in Cactus League play this spring.
Hudson was charged with four runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings.
"The [pitching] line wasn't what I wanted it to be, but today was a good work day for me," Hudson said, referring to dealing with runners aboard and running the bases himself.
In the end, Cingrani was charged with six runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out three batters.
"Posey hit a pretty good changeup. I had a slow arm speed and he's a good hitter," Cingrani said. "The other one was a fastball."
The Reds scored in the bottom half of the first inning on a two-run double by Todd Frazier for an early 2-0 lead. Billy Hamilton's double drove home Skip Schumaker to increase the lead to three runs in the first before the Giants roared back in the third.
Lee Hyde relieved Cingrani before yielding to Aroldis Chapman. Chapman gave up one hit and struck out one batter in three scoreless innings.
As for Cingrani, the biggest lesson learned from Tuesday's outing was a simple one.
"Don't throw it down the middle," he said. "Other than that, they hit the ball. I was trying to throw strikes and pound the zone. They hit it."
Up next: Tim Lincecum, who hasn't allowed a run in two spring starts spanning five innings, faces the Rangers on Wednesday. He's surrendered three hits so far while walking one and recording one strikeout.