Offense dries up just as Reds' starters deliver

Hitters plate 1 run over Cincinnati's first back-to-back quality starts of season

Offense dries up just as Reds' starters deliver

CINCINNATI -- The Reds had been winning with offense lately, and their plus-21 run differential entering Wednesday was the best in the Majors. Then, they finally got the strong starting pitching and deep outings they've been craving but not getting.

And what happened? The scoring dried up. Thursday's 2-1, 10-inning Reds loss to the Orioles marked the second night in a row they lost while notching two hits in a game. Amir Garrett struck out 12 in seven innings in a 2-0 loss on Wednesday, and Scott Feldman delivered his own seven inning start with one run allowed Thursday.

And yet, it's a lost series.

"That's kind of the disappointment. You don't want to waste a gem like that," Reds right fielder Scott Schebler said.

Baltimore's Ubaldo Jimenez rendered Garrett's outing moot with 7 2/3 innings, and Wade Miley countered Schebler with 11 strikeouts, one run and two hits over eight innings.

Feldman pitches seven strong

The Reds entered the night last in the Majors in rotation innings pitched, but Feldman's outing moved them up to 28th. It was the first time this season that Cincinnati got back-to-back quality starts.

"The thing that hopefully isn't overlooked over the course of the season is we're getting better starting pitching," Reds manager Bryan Price said after his team fell to 9-7. "We need this type of pitching to stay competitive in the division."

Cincinnati remains fourth in the National League with 72 runs scored. Their lone tally in the last two games came on Joey Votto's two-out homer against Miley.

"We had a chance to go out and win the series tonight," Feldman said. "Obviously, Amir pitched great last night. I was just trying to pick up where he left off. When you're going up against good pitching on the other team too, it makes it tough. I think as long as we keep playing defense like this and pitching like this, we'll have a good year."

Miley fans 11 over eight frames

Following the game, Orioles manager Buck Showalter felt relieved to have won the series.

"They've got some good arms," Showalter said. "I can see why they're so high on them. I am glad to get out of here."

Schebler tried not to place too much scrutiny on the shortcomings of the hitting the past two games.

"We have been good. We scored [nine] runs the first game," Schebler said. "You go through streaks like this, it's baseball. That's how you can explain a lot of things, it's baseball. It sounds weird, but it's so true. I feel like [Wednesday] we squared a lot of balls up and didn't find any luck. We'll come out tomorrow and play hard again."

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.