These are the 5 best games by Reds pitchers

January 18th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- One great pitching performance can be appreciated in the moment. Fans -- even those supporting the other team -- can sense the building of a superb effort, cheer it on with exhilaration and get on their feet to show their approval.

Over time, that game -- and the pitcher who was on the mound -- can be appreciated even more.

Here are five of the all-time best single-game pitching performances by a Reds hurler.

1. -- Sept. 16, 1988, vs. Dodgers
There have been several no-hitters in the long history of the Reds, but only one perfect game. It came when left-hander Tom Browning threw a perfect game for a 1-0 victory over the Dodgers. It was the 12th perfect game in MLB history and the first from a lefty since Sandy Koufax in 1965.

Few fans from the announced crowd of 16,591 were still at Riverfront Stadium that evening because of a rain delay that pushed back the first pitch for nearly 2 1/2 hours. The game started after 10 p.m. ET, but those who remained were rewarded.

Almost forgotten was that Dodgers starter Tim Belcher took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Cincinnati notched two hits and the game’s lone run. Browning’s 27th out was a strikeout of Tracy Woodson to conclude the one-hour, 51-minute game.

2. -- July 2, 2013, vs. Giants
Bailey already had a no-hitter in his pocket from Sept. 28, 2012, against the Pirates, but a 3-0 victory over the Giants at Great American Ball Park gave him his second. It was also arguably a better performance than the first. The right-hander needed only 109 pitches to complete the no-hitter and recorded nine strikeouts.

Bailey had a perfect game through his first six innings and 18 batters before he walked Gregor Blanco to open the top of the seventh. A soft ground ball to first base by Buster Posey nearly went for a hit, but Joey Votto alertly fired a throw to third base to get Blanco out for the fielder’s choice. In the ninth inning, Blanco’s routine groundout to third base ended the game.

It was the first time since fellow Texan Nolan Ryan in 1974 and '75 that a pitcher threw two no-hitters without another big league pitcher accomplishing the feat in between.

3. -- Oct. 20, 1990, vs. Athletics
Cincinnati pulled off a shocking four-game sweep of heavily favored Oakland in Game 4 of the World Series with its ace on the mound slamming the door shut. Rijo delivered with 8 1/3 innings in the 2-1 victory. He allowed one earned run and two hits while striking out nine and walking three.

Rijo gave up two hits in the bottom of the first inning and an intentional walk, including Carney Lansford’s RBI single. He walked two batters in the second inning before he retired his final 20 in a row. Randy Myers notched the final two outs for the save and the title. The winner of Game 1 as well, Rijo was named the World Series MVP.

4. Jim Maloney -- June 14, 1965, vs. Mets
Maloney may have endured one of the hardest-luck great performances in baseball history. He pitched a no-hitter through 10 innings and struck out 18 overall, but he still lost to the Mets in a 1-0 final score.

In the top of the 11th inning at Crosley Field, Maloney gave up a leadoff homer to center field by Johnny Lewis to lose the no-hitter. Two batters later, Roy McMillan added a single. The Reds' lineup was unable to provide any tangible support in the defeat.

An All-Star in ’65, Maloney threw his first no-hitter about two months later vs. the Cubs in 10 innings. He added a second in 1969 against the Astros.

5. -- Oct. 7, 1940, vs. Tigers
The Reds were down in the 1940 World Series, three games to two, when Walters was handed the ball for Game 6. Already a winner in Game 2, Walters kept his team alive with a five-hit shutout and a 4-0 victory over Detroit at Crosley Field. He walked two and struck out two, and for good measure, he hit a home run in the bottom of the eighth.

It only took two hours and one minute for Walters to dispatch his opponents, which had the reporter from the New York World-Telegram writing that Walters had “slapped the American Leaguers right in the puss with a bucket of whitewash.”

Cincinnati took a 2-1 victory in Game 7 to claim its first World Series title since 1919 and the franchise’s second overall.