By HAL McCOY
Amir Garrett discovered Wednesday night that in major league baseball you can pitch your heart out and still have it broken.
Garrett entered the game at Great American Ball Park against the Baltimore Orioles with a 2-and-0 record and a 1.42 earned run average for his first two major league starts for the Cincinnati Reds.
And he pitched his best game. And he lost, 2-0.
GARRETT STRUCK OUT 12 of the free-swinging Orioles over seven innings and gave up two runs and seven hits, good enough to win on most nights.
But not on this night.
The Reds ran into Ubaldo Jimenez on his best night, even better than Garrett. The Reds had to feel good about their chances because in his first two starts this season Jimenez had given up 10 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings, five to the New York Yankees and five to the Boston Red Sox.
But Jimenez had the Reds pounding ground ball after ground ball for 7 2/3 innings. He gave up only two hits, both in the second inning, one of them an infield hit to first base that originally was scored as an error.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY makes, 24 little hours. On Tuesday, when the Reds beat the Orioles, 9-3, the top four in the batting order was devastating. Billy Hamilton, Jose Peraza, Joey Votto and Adam Duvall were 7 for 14 with four walks, eight runs scored and seven RBI.
On Wednesday the same four was 0 for 14 with two walks and, of course, no runs and no RBI because the Reds were shut out for the first time this season.
The Orioles scored the only run they needed in the second inning when they got three of the seven hits they had off Garrett. Mark Trumbo led with a single and came around on a double by Wellington Castillo and a single by Jonathan Schoop.
They made it 2-0 in the fifth when they loaded the bases with one out but scored only on a sacrifice fly by Manny Machado.
GARRETT’S 12 STRIKEOUTS MATCHED the club record for a lefthanded rookie, 12 by Dennys Reyes against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 28, 1998. The team record for any rookie is held by righthander Gary Nolan, who struck out 15 San Francisco Giants on June 7, 1967.
Garrett struck out the side in the sixth and Wandy Peralta struck out the side in the ninth. With one strikeout by Michael Lorenzen in the eighth Cincinnati pitching struck out 16 Orioles. And lost.
The Reds only legitimate opportunity came in the third when the Reds loaded the bases on a solid single by Eugenio Suarez, a walk to Zack Cozart and Tucker Barnhart’s two-out infield single to fill the bases.
But there were two outs and Garrett was the hitter and he grounded into an inning-ending forceout.
JIMENEZ STRUCK OUT ONLY three and walked four, but spread out the walks to stay out of trouble and kept the Reds from hitting anything hard.
Billy Hamilton walked with out one out in the eighth and stole second. He moved to third on Jose Peraza’s ground ball.
Manager Buck Showalter decided that was enough for Jimenez and brought in lefthanded sidewinder Donnie Hart to face Joey Votto. Votto hit a meek fly ball to left field.
Still, the Reds had hope. Baltimore closer Zach Britton, who has 54 straight saves, is on the disabled list and Brad Brock came in to close it. No problem. Adam Duvall popped to shortstop on the first pitch, Eugenio Suarez struck out and Scott Schebler grounded out to first.