CINCINNATI -- Dan Straily held the A's to one run on five hits over seven innings in scorching heat at Great American Ball Park on Saturday afternoon, leading the Reds to their second consecutive 2-1 come-from-behind victory. It was the third time in his last four starts that Straily, who was acquired on waivers toward the end of Spring Training, has gone at least seven innings.
The Reds have now gone 9-5 since snapping an 11-game losing streak on May 28 at Milwaukee. Saturday's temperature was 90 degrees with sunny skies and high humidity.
"A week ago when I was out there, the heat got to me a little bit that day," Straily said. "I made some adjustments in hydration preparation, if you will, and I got unaffected today."
A's No. 14 prospect Daniel Mengden went 5 2/3 innings in his Major League debut for Oakland, allowing two runs on six hits, while walking four and striking out five batters, but it wasn't enough. The A's dropped their season-high seventh consecutive game.
The only runs Mengden allowed came on Jay Bruce's 14th home run of the season, a two-run blast that landed in the upper reaches of the right-field bleachers, in the third inning. The A's took an early lead on an RBI single by Danny Valencia in the first.
"This was my dream since I was 6 years old," Mengden said. "It became surreal. It was everything I dreamed about."
Ross Ohlendorf allowed two singles in the ninth inning but picked up the second save of his Major League career when he struck out pinch-hitter Billy Butler swinging to end the game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Long gone: Bruce's two-run homer in the third gave the Reds a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Mengden had walked Bruce on four pitches in the first inning with two outs and Joey Votto on first base. Votto was again on first when Bruce came to the plate with one out in the third. The Reds' right fielder drove Mengden's 0-1 fastball 439 feet from home plate with an exit velocity of 108 mph at a 32-degree angle, as projected by Statcast™, for career home run No. 222.
"I hit it pretty good. That's about all I have. It's all I need, though," Bruce said. "As long as they go over the fence."
A little help: Mengden was able to work out of plenty of trouble during his debut, stranding runners in scoring position during the first, second, fourth, and fifth innings. Adam Duvall's fifth-inning line drive appeared destined to drive in a run, but it was stabbed by diving A's shortstop Marcus Semien.
Head-first robbery:Tyler Holt, playing in place of Billy Hamilton after the speedster was place on the 7-day concussion DL Friday, preserved the Reds' lead in the fourth when he made a diving catch of Billy Burns' sinking line drive to center field with the bases loaded. Straily had retired nine A's in a row, including the first two in the fourth, before walking Yonder Alonso and Max Muncy, with a double by Semien sandwiched in between.
"I was really hopeful," Straily said. "If you have to put Billy on the concussion DL, that's a really good replacement over there."
The first frustration: The A's appeared poised to make it a long day for Straily during the first inning. Three of their first four batters reached base, including Valencia's RBI single. But with runners at the corners, Alonso hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play, the first of nine consecutive batters retired by Straily.
"That's two days in a row we spoiled a really good pitching performance." -- A's manager Bob Melvin
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Mengden now shares the distinction of making his Major League debut with the A's with Straily, Oakland's 24th-round pick in the 2009 Draft. Straily made his debut with the A's on Aug. 3, 2012, registering a no-decision after allowing one run on five hits in six innings against the Blue Jays. Prior to 2012, Straily had never pitched above Class A ball. Mengden, a fourth-round pick of the Astros in 2014, had never pitched above Class A before starting this season at Double-A Midland.
WHAT'S NEXT Athletics: The Interleague series with the Reds concludes on Sunday at 10:10 a.m. PT. Right-hander Kendall Graveman (2-6, 5.49) will try to snap the A's seven-game losing streak and end a rough patch of his own. Graveman has a 7.03 ERA over his last eight starts.
Reds: John Lamb (1-3, 4.74) will try to seal a sweep of the A's, as he toes the rubber in the finale of their three-game series on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET. Lamb has allowed just one earned run in each of his last two starts, both of which saw him go at least seven innings.