CINCINNATI -- Reds right-hander Dan Straily is on a roll, and it didn't stop against the first-place Rangers on Tuesday night.
Straily, in a tight pitching matchup with left-hander Derek Holland, pitched six dominant innings, and the Reds held on for a 3-0 victory at Great American Ball Park. The Rangers have lost three straight, but remain 5 1/2 games up on the Mariners, who lost to the Yankees, 5-1, in the American League West with 36 to play.
"We haven't gotten the hits when the team has needed them the most," Rangers designated hitter Carlos Beltran said. "You go through that where you're not getting the results. We are going through a little funk."
The Reds, who have won six of their last eight, are 22-14 since the All-Star break -- second-best in the National League -- and Straily is one of the reasons. Straily held the Rangers to three hits, walked two and struck out five. He is now 6-0 with a 1.98 ERA in eight starts since the break, and the Reds have won all eight.
"I have a pretty good history with a lot of those guys," said Straily, a former Athletics and Astros pitcher. "Sometimes, when you have enough history with people, you want to make sure you're not doing the same thing repeatedly over and over. We had backup plans if they started to hit certain pitches. We never really had to go to those. Tucker [Barnhart, catcher] did a great job. We were in synch the whole night."
Holland, making his first start since June 20, came off the disabled list and allowed just one run in six innings. He gave up four hits, walked one and struck out five on 73 pitches.
But the walk was costly. The game was scoreless in the sixth when Holland walked Tyler Holt to lead off the inning. Billy Hamilton bunted him to second and Joey Votto brought him home with a single to right.
Rangers pitchers walked three and all ended up scoring. Barnhart doubled home a run in the seventh and Votto had another RBI with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Hamilton's golden defense: Leading off the sixth, Beltran drove a 1-0 fastball deep into the left-center gap. Using a first step of minus 0.03 seconds, a top speed of 22 mph and a route efficiency of 97.2 percent, according to Statcast™, Hamilton traveled 123 feet and made a full-extension diving catch on the warning track to rob Beltran of extra bases. Hamilton leads all National League center fielders this season with an 11.6 ultimate zone rating and 12 defensive runs saved.
"That's a long way, too, to be honest with you," Hamilton said. "That was fun. Like I said, especially coming out of a day where you ain't getting no hits and you make one of those plays, it's a day saver. Now I'm going home happy, going to have a good night of sleep and not have to put as much pressure on myself tonight." More >
Odor throws out Votto: Votto was on first with two outs in the fourth when Brandon Phillips lifted a high pop into shallow right field. Beltran raced in but missed making a running catch and the ball got behind him. Votto, after stopping at third base, tried to score at the urging of third base coach Billy Hatcher but second baseman Rougned Odor retrieved the ball quickly and fired a strong throw to the plate. Votto was out by a wide margin.
Straily's great escape: Straily cruised through his first four innings, facing two over the minimum and not allowing a runner past first. With two outs in the fifth, Holland recorded his first career hit, advancing Mitch Moreland to third. Straily worked a 2-2 count to Ian Desmond before inducing a fly ball to get out of the inning unscathed.
"He's done a great job for the team and for himself," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He's certainly cemented his spot in our rotation. He ended up giving us everything we needed, especially after yesterday. The bullpen was beat up. Our late-inning guys were fresh, especially [Raisel Iglesias] and Tony [Cingrani], which was big. He got us there." More >
Missed opportunity: The Rangers missed an opportunity to tie the game or take the lead in seventh after leadoff singles by Moreland and Nomar Mazara against Iglesias. Elvis Andrus could not bunt the runners over, instead hitting a sharp grounder to third that forced Moreland out at third. An errant throw to second prevented a double play, or even possibly a triple play. The runners still moved to second and third on Iglesias' wild pitch, but he struck out Jurickson Profar and Desmond to end the inning.
"We hit some balls hard, but more than anything it was second and third with one out, opportunity to get some runs and we didn't," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
"They got two of their three hits like that tonight, bouncers over the infielders' heads like that. It's just kind of the way it went. It's good. I want to say it's the second time this year I gave up a guy's first-year hit. Brett Oberholtzer with the Phillies, another friend, not doing them favors, they're just hitting the ball in the right spot." -- Straily, on giving Holland, who he knows from his Oakland and Houston days, his first career hit
After Holt drew a leadoff walk in the sixth, Hamilton tried to catch the Rangers' defense off-guard with a bunt. It was fielded by Moreland, who threw to Odor covering first base. Initially, Hamilton was ruled safe, but after a Rangers challenge, the call was overturned. Hamilton was credited with a sacrifice bunt.
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers: Right-hander Yu Darvish pitches for the Rangers against the Reds at 6:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Great American Ball Park. Darvish is 7-2 with a 1.90 ERA in 11 career starts in Interleague Play. That's the third-lowest Interleague ERA among pitchers with at least 10 starts.
Reds: Rookie Tim Adleman takes the mound for the Reds in Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. ET finale against the Rangers. In his last start, Adleman allowed five hits over five scoreless innings on Friday against the Dodgers.