Straily provides stabilizing force to rotation

Right-hander allows one run over seven innings in win over A's

Straily provides stabilizing force to rotation

CINCINNATI -- Last year was a virtual roller coaster for Dan Straily. Up to the big leagues with the Astros, down to the Minors, back up to the Astros, then back down. Then late in Spring Training of this season, Straily was released by the Padres, just days after they acquired him via trade from Houston.

There have only been ups for Straily since the Reds claimed him on waivers April 1, though.

Straily continued his impressive season by limiting the A's to one run on five hits over seven innings Saturday in a 2-1 Reds victory at Great American Ball Park. Straily threw 109 pitches in a game that began with 90-degree heat and an abundance of humidity.

"A week ago [against Washington] when I was out there, the heat got to me a little bit that day," said Straily. "I made some adjustments in hydration preparation, if you will, and I got unaffected today."

After giving up two hits and a run in the first inning, Straily retired nine straight A's hitters. Oakland loaded the bases against him with two outs in the fourth inning on a walk by Yonder Alonso, a double by Marcus Semien and another walk to Max Muncy, but center fielder Tyler Holt made a diving catch of a sinking line drive off the bat of Billy Burns, to get Straily and the Reds out of the inning with their lead intact.

Holt's diving catch

Beginning with that catch, Straily retired 10 of the final 12 batters he faced.

Straily hit for himself in the sixth inning, getting a sacrifice bunt down and then returned to the mound for the seventh inning with a pitch count of 94. He gave up a two-out single to Khris Davis but retired Coco Crisp on a grounder to second baseman Brandon Phillips to close out his day's work.

"We were very aware of [the heat], but we're not going to make a decision because we're concerned about a guy who said he's good to pitch and is throwing the ball well," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "That's what pitchers do; they condition themselves to be in these kinds of games, in this type of weather in those last two or three innings. To be really good at this game, you've got to be able to do that as a starter."

When the Reds acquired Straily, the thought was that he could provide long relief or the occasional spot start for Cincinnati.

The 27-year-old has now made 14 appearances, 11 of which were starts, and has an overall ERA of 3.15 over 74 1/3 innings. Only Brandon Finnegan has thrown more innings for the Reds (76 1/3). Straily has thrown at least seven innings in three of his last four starts and has gone at least six in eight of his last nine starts.

The fact that he did it against the A's, the organization that drafted him in the 24th round in 2009 and gave him his first chance at playing in the Major Leagues in 2012, only made the day better.

"It's fun. You come in there and you prepare for them like any other team," said Straily. "You never look at the names on the back, but now that it's over, yeah, I just pitched a good game against a lot of good buddies over there. I watched them hit for multiple years. I was able to go in there and really focus in on my task and get the job done today."

Kevin Goheen is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.