Reds starter Amir Garrett pitches against the Orioles on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Cincinnati Reds waste strong outing by Amir Garrett

Darrow Garrett watched his son play often when Amir was little but had not been able to see him in recent years in the minor leagues and missed his first two big-league starts because he was in the hospital with a heart condition. He’s better now.

“I was very happy to have him in the stands today,” Amir said.

Darrow Garrett flew to Cincinnati from California for Amir’s third start in the major leagues, and Amir didn’t disappoint. If he had gotten any support at all from the Cincinnati Reds offense, he would be 3-0 in his rookie season. The Reds lost 2-0 to the Baltimore Orioles because they collected two hits, both in the second inning.

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Garrett tied a Reds rookie left-hander record with 12 strikeouts. He allowed seven hits and walked one in seven innings. His ERA jumped from 1.42 to 1.83.

“I did a really good job executing my pitches,” Garrett said. “I try to stay as low as I can in the strike zone. Even if it’s borderline, I’m going to stay there all night. My changeup was working really well. My slider was very sharp as well today on both sides of the plate. I was able to keep hitters off balance.”

Garrett has opened his career with three straight quality starts. He suffered his first loss but has looked like an ace in the first month of his career.

“Of all the accolades we’ve piled on Amir these first three starts,” Price said, “the one that stands out the most is his willingness to compete every moment he’s on the field. That is not something that everybody just has because they’re a big leaguer. There’s a lot of guys who fold their tent when things get tough, even at this level, and he doesn’t. He expects to do well. If you have to convince your players they’re good, that’s another uphill battle for you. He already believes he’s good.”

Despite the loss, the Reds (9-6) maintain their lead in the National Central Division by one game over the Chicago Cubs (8-7), who start a three-game series in Cincinnati on Friday. Counting Thursday, the Reds have had a share of the lead for 15 straight days and have been alone atop the standings for nine days.

Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez was even better than Garrett. He allowed two hits in 7 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out three.

“To pitch his team into the eighth innning, especially after a short start yesterday by their starter,” Reds manager Bryan Price said, “it ws a big effort on his part.”

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