Jay Bruce hit a ball so hard in the fifth inning Saturday it shredded Brewers first baseman Mark Reynolds’ glove. Reynolds caught the line drive, stepped on first to double up Brandon Phillips and then went to the dugout to get a new glove.
The Reds didn’t hit many balls hard, but if that one had broken through Reynolds’ glove completely and bounced into the right-field corner at Great American Ball Park, their day might have had a better ending. Instead, they suffered their fifth 1-0 loss and 10th shutout loss of the season.
“(A 1-0 loss is) very, very frustrating because we have a very capable offensive team,” Bruce said. “A lot of guys can do a lot of things. We have a lot of dynamic pieces to our offense. Today, we weren’t able to utilize them. We weren’t really able to get going. It’s tough.”
The Reds managed two hits against Brewers starter Matt Garza (6-5, 3.78 ERA). He threw the first complete-game shutout by an opponent in Cincinnati since the Pirates’ Charlie Morton on May 18, 2011. It’s his first complete-game shutout since 2010.
Garza allowed one run in seven innings against the Reds on June 13 in Milwaukee, so this performance wasn’t a total surprise.
“He was outstanding,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “I’ve seen a lot of him, and that’s as well as I’ve seen him throw. He was challenging a lot of our guys with fastballs and making good pitches.”
After gaining a game with a 4-2 victory Friday, the Reds (44-42) again find themselves seven games behind the Brewers (52-36) in the National League Central. The Reds trail the Nationals (47-39) by three games in the wild card race with the Cardinals (47-41) and Pirates (46-41) also in contention.
Homer Bailey (8-5, 4.15) was the hard-luck loser Saturday. He allowed one run on seven hits in eight innings, striking out eight and walking four.
A two-out rally by the Brewers in the first inning proved to be all they needed. After Bailey struck out the first two batters, Jonathan Lucroy doubled to left. Then Carlos Gomez walked, and Aramis Ramirez singled to score Lucroy.
The Reds twice threw out runners at home plate. Jay Bruce, Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco combined to get Aramis Ramirez in the sixth after a double by Khris Davis.
In the seventh, Bruce, Brandon Phillips and Mesoraco teamed to get Reynolds after a double by Scooter Gennett.
“It kind of took me an inning or two to find my groove,” Bailey said. “They scored in the first, and we held them at bay after that. Hat’s off to Matt Garza. I guess I know how Tim Hudson feels now. That’s a really good hitting team. I can’t say enough about my defense today. They really bailed me out with two plays at the plate. It’s a tough game to lose.”