SAN FRANCISCO -- More than wanting to notch his first hit as a batter, Reds starting pitcher Dan Straily is shooting for his first complete game in the Majors. During a 2-1 victory over the Giants, Straily seemed well on his way while also besting Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.
But after Bumgarner hit a two-out single in the bottom of the eighth, manager Bryan Price lifted Straily for Raisel Iglesias to get out of the inning. While it didn't look obvious that Straily was running out of gas at 90 pitches, it turned out that he in fact was on fumes.
"When he came out to get me, the last couple of pitches I threw didn't have the same feel as the other ones," Straily said. "I told [Price] that was a really good read on his part to see the situation and come get me right there."
Straily still finished with a career-high 7 2/3 innings, one run, three hits, one walk and five strikeouts. His only mistake was Conor Gillaspie hitting an 0-1 curveball for a leadoff home run in the third inning.
Price did not want to put Straily in a position to have to face the potential go-ahead run as San Francisco reached the top of its order.
"He pitched into the eighth inning, pitched a beautiful game," Price said. "We had one of our most reliable relievers ready to go. It just didn't make any sense to give him one extra hitter."
Up until the end, Straily showed efficiency. He had four innings of 11 pitches or fewer, including an eight-pitch third inning. Of the 23 outs he recorded, 13 came with three or fewer swings.
"I try to be a strike-thrower," Straily said. "That's my goal every single time out. Some nights that turns into strikeouts and some nights that turns into outs in three pitches or less. That's a mantra that Gil Patterson put into my head as my pitching coordinator when I first got drafted: 'Three pitches or less, that should be your goal every single time.'"
The Giants never applied added pressure by putting a runner in scoring position against Straily. Price likes how he pitches deceptively, despite not having power stuff.
"You look up at the radar-gun readings, he's 88-91," Price said. "He has a lot of swings and misses with fastball. His slider goes without saying. I don't think hitters see that slider real well. You get a lot of check swings, swings off the plate, and that to me is what deception is all about."
Continuing to show he might be the shrewdest waiver claim of the season for the Reds, Straily is 6-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 22 games, including 19 starts. He leads the team with 12 quality starts, including the last five in a row. During those five starts, he is 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA.
"To get somebody on a waiver claim who has impacted our rotation as much as Dan has, yeah, big surprise," Price said.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.