DETROIT -- When Joey Votto launched a fly ball over the head of Nicholas Castellanos in right field in the fourth inning Tuesday night at Comerica Park, Matthew Boyd had a flashback. Most pitchers have bad memories of Votto in the batter's box, but Boyd's was especially painful on June
DETROIT -- When Joey Votto launched a fly ball over the head of Nicholas Castellanos in right field in the fourth inning Tuesday night at Comerica Park, Matthew Boyd had a flashback. Most pitchers have bad memories of Votto in the batter's box, but Boyd's was especially painful on June 19, when Votto hit a third-inning grand slam in Cincinnati. It was part of a miserable outing for Boyd, one that sent him down a path of four losses in his next six starts.
Votto didn't quite reach the bleachers on Tuesday -- even though according to Statcast™ his double traveled 36 feet farther than his grand slam -- and it was the closest the Reds came to scoring on Boyd, who threw eight shutout innings in a 2-1 win.
"He's a good hitter," Boyd said. "He puts a bat on the ball with two strikes like he did there, right? But it feels good. I'm glad we got in the win column today."
It was puzzling why the Reds weren't able to turn Votto's double into a run, because Phillip Ervin was on second base following a leadoff double. Castellanos' reaction in right field implied that Ervin's run was a foregone conclusion.
"I just looked and I saw Votto and I thought, 'Man, I've got a chance,'" Castellanos said. "So that's where I let it go."
But even as the ball sailed in to second, Ervin stayed put at third. Boyd (6-9) then issued a walk, but got out of the inning by getting Tucker Barnhart to ground out to third.
The Reds had an earlier scoring chance in the second inning, but JaCoby Jones, playing in center for the traded Leonys Martin, threw a strike to catcher James McCann in plenty of time to tag Eugenio Suarez for the third out.
It was part of what turned into a four-hit outing for Boyd. Tuesday marked the third time in Boyd's career that he's thrown at least eight innings while allowing fewer than five hits. Between his starts against the Reds, Boyd allowed 24 runs (23 earned) over 30 innings. None of his six starts went longer than six innings.
"His pitch count got up there, or we might have sent him back out there [for the ninth inning]," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I was kidding with him. I told him, 'If you hadn't tipped your hat, I would've left you in.'"
After hearing what Gardenhire said, Boyd joked that we just lowering his hat, not tipping it.
Boyd's performance was a continuation of his success at Comerica Park this season. The lefty has a 2.94 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings at home.
The Tigers turned to Shane Greene in the ninth inning. Greene allowed a leadoff triple to Ervin, who scored on a sacrifice fly to right field, but he was the only Reds batter to reach base in the inning. Greene's 22 saves are sixth most in the American League.
Of course, there aren't many 2-1 results that can't also be called a pitcher's duel, and that's what fans at Comerica Park were treated to, with Reds starter Homer Bailey hurling eight innings of three-hit ball. The last time Bailey threw at least eight innings with less than four hits was in 2012.
Bailey was nearly perfect through four innings when Niko Goodrum caught a 1-0 fastball over the heart of the plate and drove it 407 feet to right-center field for his 10th home run. The Tigers didn't get their next hit until John Hicks singled off Bailey in the eighth inning.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Mike Gerber was called up to the Tigers on Tuesday when Martin was traded to the Indians. Gerber had a brief stint with the Tigers earlier in the season but didn't record a hit. In the eighth inning, with Jose Iglesias on first and two outs, Gerber lined a double to left field for his first Major League hit and RBI to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
It proved to be an important insurance run once Cincinnati scored its lone run in the ninth.
"He threw me a fastball inside," Gerber said. "I just kind of stayed inside the ball and shot it down the left-field line. I was just looking to have a quality at-bat and look for a pitch over the plate."
Jones' second-inning assist was his fifth from the outfield this season. It was also the 24th outfield assist for the Tigers this season, which ranks No. 3 in the Majors.
The Tigers conclude their two-game series against the Reds with a 1:10 p.m. ET first pitch Wednesday. Mike Fiers (7-6, 3.54 ERA) will take the mound for Detroit. Fiers has a 2.72 ERA in nine career games against the Reds. Cincinnati will turn to Sal Romano (6-8, 5.04), who threw seven scoreless innings against the Tigers on June 19.
Tyler Fenwick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.