Garrett proves mettle in bounceback effort

Garrett proves mettle in bounceback effort

CINCINNATI -- One bad start in Milwaukee his last time on the mound certainly did not create a crisis of confidence about Reds rookie pitcher Amir Garrett. But Garrett's superb work for a no-decision during a 4-3 Cincinnati victory in 10 innings over the Pirates still showed his team something.

Garrett delivered seven innings with two earned runs and two hits -- both solo home runs -- while walking three and striking out four. In his previous game on Monday, the Brewers clobbered him for 10 runs (nine earned) on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.

"You know what? You learn a lot about young pitchers the first time they get punched in the teeth with a tough outing and how they respond the next time," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It really becomes that difference-maker: how you respond to adversity, how you respond as a player to struggle. It's one game. Who would have thought he'd come in and pitch three such impactful games to start his career? And then he gets roughed up in Milwaukee. I didn't have any concern at all that he wasn't going to bounce right back."

Garrett, who threw first-pitch strikes to 17 of his 25 batters, was more effective because he commanded his fastball and kept it down in the zone.

"The last game against the Brewers, everything was up, for some reason," Garrett said. "It wasn't something I couldn't fix right away -- I just couldn't fix it in the game at that moment. I had a good bullpen before the game -- everything was down. I was just going to work off of that and go from there."

When Garrett does get a ball into play, Statcast™ shows that opposing hitters are making hard contact with an average exit velocity of 91.3 mph for the season entering the night. It was tied with the Giants' Matt Moore for the Major League-lead among starters who had induced at least 50 balls in play.

The two hits Garrett allowed both came on mistakes. Andrew McCutchen hit a hanging 1-2 slider into the left-field seats for a two-out homer in the first inning. In the sixth, Josh Harrison made it a 2-0 game when he took a 3-1 outside fastball the opposite way for a homer to right field.

Otherwise, Garrett didn't give Pittsburgh's hitters much to work with.

"The low strike zone, I think that worked to his advantage," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He kept the ball down. He changed speeds well. Thought we had some balls to hit that we either topped or were just underneath. We weren't able to square him up."

Garrett, who turns 25 on Wednesday and is the Reds' No. 2 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, now has quality starts in four of his five starts to begin his big league career.

"It was a good bounceback game for me," Garrett said. "I'm very happy with the outcome."

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.