Johnny Vander Meer's likely unbreakable record of back-to-back no-hitters in 1938 was safe moments after Wade Miley returned to the mound on Friday for the first start since his no-no on May 7.
On Miley's second pitch vs. the Rockies at Coors Field, Garrett Hampson hit a triple to left field. It was the first of 11 hits the left-hander gave up -- along with eight earned runs -- over only three-plus innings during the Reds' 9-6 loss. Last Friday at Cleveland, he pitched a no-hitter with eight strikeouts for a 3-0 win.
Last week’s gem required flawless execution of pitches from Miley, weak contact from hitters and a lot of luck. This time, Miley only got the weak contact and had little else going for him.
"I felt better tonight than I felt seven days ago, 100 percent," Miley said. "I think that was a little bit to a fault, because I tried to do a little too much probably with my cutter and I could not command it. And the changeup wasn’t there. The big thing tonight for me was the changeup wasn’t there. Never really got a feel for it. Threw it in stupid counts and just didn’t locate it well. Tried to force the issue a little bit and it wasn’t a good pitch for me tonight."
Colorado sent nine men to the plate in its four-run bottom of the third inning with the first five reaching safely on four hits. Not all were hard hits as Josh Fuentes' RBI single was a bloop to right field, followed by Yonathan Daza's single to center field.
"It’s lonely out there when I felt like there were a couple of times I made some pretty decent pitches and they were just finding holes," said Miley, who walked three batters and struck out five. "The fly ball to right. I mean, it’s humongous. I’m not sure, but I would say it’s probably the biggest outfield in baseball, grass-space. Then I got a little bit frustrated that was happening, as opposed to putting it on the back burner and moving to the next guy. Maybe there were some what-ifs in my head. That can’t happen. You have to move on. You can’t dwell on what happened in the past. Like 20 seconds or three days ago, it doesn’t matter. I did not do a very good job of that."
With one out in the third inning, Rockies pitcher Germán Márquez dropped a safety squeeze bunt that Miley flubbed for an error that scored Daza.
"I kind of knew it was coming. I tried to throw that cutter in, off. And I didn’t. It just spun middle. The perfect pitch for him to do that with," Miley said. "My mind was racing way too much and I just backed one up, gave him the perfect opportunity to lay a bunt down, then I made an error and [didn’t] even get an out of it."
Miley was finished after the first three hitters in the fourth inning reached, including Fuentes with an RBI double. Heath Hembree took over and gave up his first hit of the season -- a two-run double by Daza that made it an 8-2 game.
The eight runs allowed doubled Miley's season total in one night. His ERA jumped from 2.00 to 3.69.
Miley threw 114 pitches during his no-hitter and was given extra rest for his next start.
"It’s all about the results, I get it, but the way he felt was a real positive," manager David Bell said. "There were a few hard-hit balls, and you have to give their lineup credit. They’re having really good at-bats off our pitchers. But there were some balls that weren’t hit hard, but they did a good job of making the most of their opportunities and found some holes."
It's been tough for Cincinnati starters thus far in the four game series as Luis Castillo and Miley have combined for 16 earned runs allowed.
"We’re in pretty decent shape given the circumstances of our starters [not going] four or five innings. But that happens here," Bell said. "Our relievers have done a good job of not only getting through the game, but keeping us in the game. Giving us an opportunity to win."
Similar to Thursday's 13-8 loss, the Reds did just enough to stay in range. Jonathan India slugged a 451-foot two-run homer to center field in the seventh against Márquez . In the eighth against reliever Yency Almonte, Eugenio Suárez made it a three-run game with a two-run homer to left field. But the comeback fell short and Cincinnati had back-to-back losses for the first time since its seven-game losing streak April 18-25.