Orioles shut out Reds, 3-0, behind another Cole Irvin gem, Ryan O’Hearn’s 2-run homer

CINCINNATI — Reds fans were hoping to witness a fireworks show both in the sky and on the diamond Friday night.

After a lengthy rain delay, it appeared the literal show would be called off because the game would end too late. Instead, the fans who endured the 2-hour, 41-minute delay were treated to a fireworks display shortly after the sun went down and as Orioles and Reds players warmed up on the field.

Those were the only fireworks the Reds would put on Friday.

Cole Irvin twirled another beauty to extend his scoreless innings streak and tame the up-and-coming Reds in Baltimore’s 3-0 victory in front of an announced 25,861 at Great American Ball Park. The left-hander was coming off two stellar starts, and he was perhaps even more masterful Friday, surrendering just two hits without issuing a walk in 6 1/3 innings.

Irvin’s scoreless streak is up to 20 2/3 innings. He’s pitched at least 6 1/3 scoreless in three straight starts — a feat only five other pitchers in Orioles history have achieved, and none in the past 30 years. The others on the list are: Fernando Valenzuela (1993), Jim Palmer (1978), Tom Phoebus (1967), Milt Pappas (1967) and Jack Fisher (1960).

Baltimore’s bats started cold, too, but got hot in the seventh. Adley Rutschman broke the scoreless tie with an RBI double that scored Jorge Mateo, who reached on a single. Ryan O’Hearn then blasted a two-run homer — and admired it justly — to give Irvin and the Orioles’ bullpen insurance it didn’t end up needing.

Manager Brandon Hyde pulled Irvin at just 72 pitches with one out in the seventh inning and Elly De La Cruz on second base. Sinkerballer Yennier Cano got two ground balls, including a web gem defensive play himself, to end the threat. Danny Coulombe bridged the game to closer Craig Kimbrel.

The veteran right-hander struck out the side in order in his first appearance since his two blown saves last weekend against the Oakland Athletics. With his save, Kimbrel passed John Franco on MLB’s all-time saves list and moved into a tie for fifth with Kenley Jansen at 425.

The shutout is the Orioles’ fourth this season — all in the past 12 games — helping Baltimore (21-11) maintain its one-game lead atop the New York Yankees for first in the American League East. The Orioles have the best record in the AL.