CINCINNATI -- Brandon Finnegan has found a favorite team to pitch against: The Los Angeles Dodgers.
Finnegan took a no-hitter into the seventh inning as he pitched his best game of the season in an 11-1 Reds victory over the Dodgers Saturday night at Great American Ball Park. Dodgers first baseman Adrián González broke up Finnegan's no-hit bid leading off the seventh with a single to center through a shifted defense. It was the only hit Finnegan allowed as he completed seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts and two walks.
Finnegan had a complete game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on May 23. He allowed one run on five hits, but took the loss in a 1-0 defeat as Clayton Kershaw tossed a two-hitter.
"I don't know. That's a good question," said Finnegan about his dominance against the Dodgers. "I did pitch pretty well against them this year. I just have to keep that mentality and keep going after hitters like I did tonight."
It's the second time that Finnegan has taken a no-hitter into the seventh inning of a game this season. He threw 6 2/3 hitless innings against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 11. The Reds ended up losing that game. They were in complete control this time around. Finnegan helped out offensively, going 1-for-2 with a double, a walk and two runs scored.
"He hit it hard. But you never know, BP's [Brandon Phillips] always somewhere in range to catch it," said Finnegan. "We had the shift on and [Gonzalez] beat it. It stinks. It's not the first time it's happened to me this year and it probably won't be the last, either. So, I'm just glad we won."
In his last eight starts, Finnegan is 5-2 with a 2.85 ERA.
"I was just really worried about making quality pitches," said Finnegan. "All three of my pitches, I had good command of and I could throw all of them for strikes tonight. I just kept them off the fastball and that's an important thing.
Gonzalez's single and a rain delay of one hour, 19 minutes in the middle of the seventh inning made manager Bryan Price's decision about whether or not to keep Finnegan in the game an easy one. Finnegan had tossed 96 pitches, 63 of them for strikes.
"He would have been coming out either way," said Price. "That point in time, he was up over 90 pitches. He is a guy we're concerned about as far as innings and overall workload. Just adding on innings there doesn't make any sense. It would have certainly been more challenging if he hadn't given up the hit there in the seventh, but he did."
Finnegan has made 25 starts this season and now has 141 2/3 innings pitched. He threw 105 1/3 innings last season between his time in the Minors and with the Reds. At some point, the Reds have said, he's going to be limited and put in the bullpen to control his innings. Until that time, Finnegan is pitching as consistently as he has all season.