CINCINNATI (AP) — Ubaldo Jimenez's pitches were flat and his performances were disappointingly short in his first two games. The third time out, the Orioles starter felt a need to shine.
Jimenez pitched two-hit ball into the eighth inning, and Baltimore overcame a dominating performance by Cincinnati rookie Amir Garrett, beating the Reds 2-0 on Wednesday night.
Jimenez (1-0) held the Reds to a pair of singles in the second inning and four walks overall in 7 2/3 innings, striking out three. It was a reversal of his first two starts, when he failed to last five innings either time. Those bad showings left him with a little urgency.
"No doubt about it," Jimenez said. "I needed a start like that. I was able to make it sink consistently. It was flat in the first two games."
A bullpen missing its closer finished it off.
Left-hander Donnie Hart retired Joey Votto on a foul to end the eighth. Brad Brach retired the side in the ninth for his first save of the season, completing the Orioles' first shutout of the season. The Orioles lost closer Zach Britton to a strained forearm on Sunday.
Brach didn't know he'd be filling in as the closer until he was told to warm up for the ninth. He got his fourth career save.
"I had a little bit of adrenalin going there against the first batter," said Brach, who retired Adam Duvall on his first pitch. "I was able to settle down."
The Reds were shut out for the first time this season, wasting another impressive performance by a rookie.
Garrett (2-1) tied the Reds' modern record for a rookie left-hander by striking out 12 in seven innings. Dennys Reyes also fanned a dozen Pirates in 1998. Gary Nolan set the club's modern rookie record by fanning 15 Giants in 1967.
"I tried to stay as low as I could with my pitches, even if it was out of the strike zone," Garrett said. "My changeup was working very well, my slider was working well."
Jonathan Schoop singled home a run in the second, when the Orioles put together three hits. Manny Machado hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the fifth. Garrett left after throwing 97 pitches, 71 of them strikes.
"I don't know if too many guys have had a more impressive start for a rookie than Amir," manager Bryan Price said. "He's come out of the gate throwing strikes."
Garrett gave up seven hits, including a single by Jimenez in the seventh inning. Jimenez has 34 career hits, all of them singles.
"I can see why they're so high on him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Garrett. "We didn't exactly solve him."
LOVES THE PLACE
Jimenez is 3-0 in four starts at Great American Ball Park with a 1.30 ERA. Overall, he's 4-0 in his last seven starts against the Reds.
MATCHING BIG KLU
Votto started his 1,255th game at first base, tying Ted Kluszewski for most in club history at that position.
A LOT OF Ks
The Reds fanned 16 Orioles in all, one shy of their club record for a nine-inning game. Wandy Peralta fanned three in the top of the ninth.
Cincinnati second baseman Jose Peraza extended his streak to 52 plate appearances with a strikeout since April 5, the longest active streak in the majors.
Orioles: Left fielder Seth Smith felt improvement in his straight right hamstring, a day after he had to leave a game because of the injury. Showalter said the club will hold off putting him on the disabled list. ... Outfielder Joey Rickard hit off a tee and threw without problem before the game. He sprained his left middle finger on April 8.
Reds: Third baseman Eugenio Suarez was back in the lineup after being scratched on Tuesday because of a sore neck. ... Catcher Devin Mesoraco is closer to coming off the disabled list after catching back-to-back nine-inning games on a rehab assignment. He's missed most of the last two seasons with two hip operations and shoulder surgery.
Orioles: Left-hander Wade Miller is 3-0 in three career starts at Great American Ball Park with a 3.44 ERA.
Reds: Scott Feldman is 5-3 career against the Orioles in 17 games. Machado is 5 for 11 career against the right-hander with two homers.