By HAL McCOY
Some days it doesn’t pay to even lace up your shoes. That’s the kind of night it was for Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey.
Bailey pitched perhaps the best game by a Reds pitcher this year, perhaps the best since Bailey pitched his second no-hitter on July 2, 2013 against the San Francisco Giants.
And he lost, 2-1, to the Detroit Tigers in Comerica Park.
Bailey gave up one hit in his first seven innings and walked one. Unfortunately for Bailey and the Reds the one hit was a two-out home run in the fourth inning by Tigers No. 3 hitter Niko Goodrum. Bailey had retired the first 14 Tigers.
Unfortunately, again, for Bailey and the Reds, they ran up against Tigers left hander Matthew Boyd.
He pitched eight shutout innings, giving up four hits while striking out seven and walking one. Boyd, 27, was drafted by the Reds in the 16th round when he was a junior at Oregon State. He didn’t sign and went back to school.
Boyd is a distant relative of Bob Feller, the flame-throwing Hall of Fame pitcher with the Cleveland Indians. Boyd, though, did not inherit Feller’s 100 miles an hour fastball. His fastball hovered around 88 miles an hour.
He retired the last 12 batters he faced, but Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire decided eight innings was enough and brought in closer Shane Greene for the ninth.
Phillip Ervin led the ninth with a triple, but all the Reds could do was score Ervin on a one-out sacrifice fly to make it 2-1. Scooter Gennett struck out to end it.
The Reds had early opportunities, but shady baserunning did them in. Eugenio Suarez led the second with a double against his old team and moved to third on a ground ball. He then tried to score on a shallow fly ball to center field and Jacoby Jones threw him out.
The Reds had back-to-back one-out doubles in the fourth — and didn’t score. Phillip Ervin doubled. Joey Votto doubled off the right center wall but Ervin hesitated at second base and was only able to advance to third.
Suarez took a dubious called strike three, Gennett walked to fill the bases, but Tucker Barnhart grounded out.
Dilson Herrera led the fifth with a single, but Boyd struck out Brandon Dixon and Billy Hamilton an Jose Peraza flied to right.
After Goodrum’s home run, Bailey retired 10 of the next 11, issuing a walk, through the seventh.
He gave up a run in the eighth when John Hicks singled and Mike Gerber poked an excuse-me opposite field double to the left field corner. It was the first major-league hit for Gerber, called up from Triple-A Toledo just prior to the game.
The Reds knocked Boyd out of the box early when the Tigers visited Great American Ball Park earlier this season. But on his night he had them popping up time and time again.