PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Edinson Volquez had no room for error, so he didn’t make any mistakes.
Joey Votto’s two-out RBI double in the seventh inning spoiled Brett Myers’ bid for a no-hitter, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0 on Wednesday night behind another impressive start by Volquez.
“I can’t say enough about him,” Votto said. “He was great. He took care of us.”
A sellout crowd hoping to see Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 600th homer saw an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel in the rarest of places—hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.
Junior wasn’t in the Reds’ lineup for the third consecutive game because of general soreness, including a sore left knee. For the second straight game, he walked as a pinch hitter in the eighth and pitcher Bronson Arroyo ran for him.
Volquez (8-2) allowed two hits, struck out eight, walked two and hit two batters in seven innings, lowering his ERA to a major league best 1.32.
“A shutout against this club in this ballpark is almost impossible,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Volquez was awesome.”
Griffey hit No. 599 at home Saturday against Atlanta. He went 2-for-3 Sunday, but hasn’t started since. The only players to reach 600 are Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa.
Cameras flashed during every pitch from Myers (3-7) to Griffey and fans booed when he walked.
“I was trying to go right after him,” Myers said.
Acquired from Texas in the trade for Josh Hamilton, the 24-year-old Volquez has been dominant for the Reds. He hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his 12 starts. The right-hander overpowered hitters with a 94 mph fastball and kept them off-balance with a darting changeup.
“The biggest thing is more confidence,” Volquez said.
Myers retired the first 13 batters before he walked Adam Dunn with one out in the fifth. He gave up one run, one hit and walked a season-high six in 7 1-3 innings, striking out eight.
Myers got in trouble when he walked Brandon Phillips with one out in the seventh, and Phillips stole second. After Dunn flied to left, Votto ripped a hanging 0-2 pitch to left-center to put the Reds ahead 1-0.
“I tried to put something in play and get the runner home,” Votto said. “I’m glad I came through in that situation.”
The Reds didn’t come close to a hit until Votto delivered. Jerry Hairston lined out right to shortstop Jimmy Rollins to start the game. Phillips sent right fielder Geoff Jenkins to the warning track leading off the fifth.
Votto got another RBI double in the ninth off J.C. Romero to give the Reds an insurance run.
Despite the loss, it was an encouraging performance for Myers. He seems back on track after a poor start, lowering his ERA from 5.91 on May 14 to 5.13. Myers enjoyed being a closer last year after moving to the bullpen for the first time in his career.
He prefers finishing games, but agreed to be a starter after the team acquired Brad Lidge from Houston. Lidge is 15-for-15 in save chances.
“I knew it would come down to who would make the first mistake and unfortunately I made it,” Myers said.
Volquez had control issues in the fifth. He hit Chris Coste with a pitch, walked Shane Victorino and hit Chase Utley to load the bases with two outs. But Ryan Howard flied out to left on the first pitch to end the threat.
“He had effective changeup and throws in the high 90s and also has a good slider,” Victorino said. “When you have three pitches like that, you tip your hat to the guy.”
Reds second baseman Phillips made an outstanding over-the-shoulder, diving catch to rob Pedro Feliz in the second.
Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb took some hacks with the Phillies during batting practice. The five-time Pro Bowl selection hit a one-hopper over the wall in left-center. … The Reds will call up RHP Homer Bailey from Triple-A Louisville to make his first start of the season in Thursday’s series finale. … Myers didn’t allow a run in the first inning for the first time in eight starts. … The game started 12 minutes late because of a rain delay.