Rookie fireballer Spencer Strider was overpowering, allowing just one hit and one run in six innings as the visiting Atlanta Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 on Saturday.
Relievers A.J. Minter, Jesse Chavez and Will Smith combined for three shutout innings, with Smith picking up his fourth save in seven chances. Smith walked two and hit a batter in the ninth but escaped when Albert Almora Jr. flew out to deep left to end the game.
Atlanta pitchers recorded 16 strikeouts in combining on the one-hitter.
For the second time in four starts, Strider (4-2) struck out 11 batters while allowing just one hit as he ran his personal winning streak to three games. The 11 strikeouts matched his season high.
Strider, who walked one and hit a batter, now has 90 strikeouts, three shy of Cincinnati’s Hunter Greene for the lead among Major League rookie pitchers.
Austin Riley blasted his team-leading 20th homer and drove in a pair while Dansby Swanson continued his hitting tear with three more hits as the Braves won for the 23rd time in 29 games.
Nick Senzel had Cincinnati’s only hit, a two-out RBI bloop single in the fifth as the Reds lost their 10th straight home game. The 10 consecutive losses mark a new low for Great American Ball Park and Cincinnati’s longest home skid since losing 11 straight at Riverfront Stadium in 1986.
Cincinnati starter and loser Tyler Mahle (3-7) minimized damage to two runs on a day when he labored badly in two innings.
Mahle was worked for 32 pitches in the second, including Riley’s towering homer to left for a 1-0 Atlanta lead. Two innings later, Mahle threw 37 pitches and walked Michael Harris II with the bases loaded for Atlanta’s second run.
With frustrations mounting in the bottom of the fifth, Reds manager David Bell was ejected by home plate umpire Tripp Gibson, moments after Strider drilled Cincinnati shortstop Kyle Farmer on the back of the left hand, forcing Farmer from the game.
Pinch-runner Matt Reynolds advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored when Senzel broke up the no-hit bid with a bloop single to center in front of Harris, who got a late break on the ball.