Dominant pitching performance carries Reds to first win

Brandon Finnegan throws seven scoreless innings

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan does not like rain delays. He dealt with the first one of his career Wednesday — the first one before one of his starts, at least.

“I kind of didn’t know what to do,” Finnegan said. “I was getting anxious in here, talking to everybody, getting jittery. I thought I handled it well. As soon as they told me we were playing, I ran to center field and started getting stretched.”

A rain delay pushed back the start time from 7:10 p.m. to 8 p.m. Finnegan dominated the rest of the night. His first start of 2017 may stand up as his best of the season. He will have a hard time topping it. That’s how good he was in a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park.

Finnegan allowed a walk and a single in the first inning and then retired the next 19 batters. He struck out nine. He left after the seventh inning. He wanted to stay in the game but knew that wouldn’t happen.

“That’s the first one of the season,” he said. “You know you’re not going to go all nine. I was glad I got to go seven and gave our team a chance to win, and they did play a really good game behind me.”

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Joey Votto broke a scoreless tie with a lead-off home run in the seventh. Votto’s first hit of the season gave the Reds their first lead of the season. He was 0-for-4 Monday on Opening Day in a 4-3 loss to the Phillies.

Votto’s 222nd career home run moved him into a tie for fourth place with Jason Bay for home runs hit by a native of Canada. Larry Walker is the all-time leader with 383 home runs.

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The Votto home run and then an RBI single by Zack Cozart in the same inning put Finnegan in position to get the victory. A year after he was 10-11 with a 3.98 ERA in 31 starts, he got off to a great start in his second season in Cincinnati.

“He’ll compete,” Price said. “I don’t even expect that. I know it. He’s a competitor. He’s completely rested and competing every time he takes the mound, so I never have to worry about that. I like to see him working ahead in the count. That really sets the table for him. He’s got a nice mix of pitches and when he’s ahead it really opens up the full bag of pitches he has and locations and allows him to control the game.”

Michael Lorenzen relieved Finnegan in the eighth. After giving up back-to-back singles, Lorenzen struck out the next two batters and then got an inning-ending groundout. Lorenzen also threw a scoreless eighth inning on Opening Day.

Raisel Iglesias pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save.

NOTES: The game started at 8 p.m. after a 50-minute rain delay. … Cozart was the only Red with two hits. Tucker Barnhart and Adam Duvall both had doubles. … Eugenio Suarez is the only starter who does not have a hit in the first two games. He was 0-for-3 Monday and 0-for-3 on Wednesday.


THURSDAY’S GAME

Phillies at Reds, 12:35 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410

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