A few more inches, and maybe the ball stays in Paul Janish’s glove. A few more inches, and Johnny Cueto pitches one of the best games in Cincinnati Reds history.
Even if the Pittsburgh Pirates can’t imagine him pitching much better.
Cueto pitched a one-hitter for his first major league complete game, giving up only a third-inning single that went off shortstop Janish’s glove, and the Reds beat the Pirates, 9-0, last night in Pittsburgh for their fourth consecutive win.
“He completely dominated the game,’’ Reds first baseman Joey Votto said. “It was his game, hands down.’’
The Pirates’ only hit was by Ronny Cedeno — and it nearly wasn’t one. Janish deflected Cedeno’s one-out grounder into left field, barely missing making the play. Cedeno was the Pirates’ only baserunner, also reaching when he was hit in the left wrist by a Cueto fastball in the sixth.
Two days after Dallas Braden of Oakland threw a perfect game against Tampa Bay, Cedeno didn’t want to see all zeros as the Pirates’ linescore. “I’m so glad they didn’t throw a no-hitter, you know what I mean?’’ he said.
Cedeno broke up a no-hitter Aug. 4 against Arizona, getting a single in the eighth inning for the Pirates’ only hit.
As effortlessly as Cueto (2-1) was throwing his 95 mph fastball, Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez almost seemed surprised it wasn’t a no-hitter.
“He’s always got his stuff,’’ Hernandez said. “He’s been working at trying to get ahead of the hitters and not get too excited.’’
Rays 7, Angels 2 — Jeff Niemann took a shutout into the eighth inning, Evan Longoria had a homer and four RBIs, and visiting Tampa Bay beat Los Angeles in Scott Kazmir’s first start against his former team.
Mariners 5, Orioles 1 — Cliff Lee gave up one run in 7 1/3 innings to earn his first win with Seattle, and the visiting Mariners won a matchup of last-place teams.
Padres 3, Giants 2 — Barry Zito’s career-best start (5-1) ended when he gave up David Eckstein’s two-run single and walked a season-high seven batters in host San Francisco’s loss to first-place San Diego.
Mets 8, Nationals 6 — Pinch hitter Chris Carter, just called up from the minors, delivered a tiebreaking double in his first at-bat for the Mets and New York scored six runs in the eighth inning to rally past visiting Washington. Jason Bay had three hits for the Mets.
Braves 11, Brewers 3 — Tim Hudson kept pitching his way out of trouble, and Atlanta pounded out a season-high 16 hits in dropping Milwaukee to a major league-worst 4-10 at home.
Dodgers 13, Diamondbacks 3 — Russell Martin hit a three-run homer, Ronnie Belliard drove in three runs, and visiting Los Angeles sent Arizona to its fifth straight loss.
Marlins 3, Cubs 2 — Ricky Nolasco pitched seven sharp innings, and Cody Ross and Gaby Sanchez homered as visiting Florida handed Chicago its seventh loss in eight games.
White Sox 5, Twins 2 — A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez had two-run doubles in a five-run, seven-hit fifth inning as visiting Chicago snapped out of its offensive funk for a night. The White Sox entered the game with the worst batting average in the AL.
Indians 8, Royals 2 — Russell Branyan homered twice and Jake Westbrook pitched six innings for his first win in two years, helping visiting Cleveland hand backpedaling Kansas City its sixth straight loss.
Athletics 7, Rangers 6 — Daric Barton hit a two-out RBI single in the 13th inning after homering in the 11th to lift visiting Oakland.
Astros 6, Cardinals 3 — Brett Myers worked six strong innings and pinch hitters Cory Sullivan and Humberto Quintero hit consecutive RBI singles in a four-run seventh to lift visiting Houston.
The Tigers-Yankees game in Detroit was postponed by rain. The game will be made up today in a day-night doubleheader, with the first game starting at 1:05 p.m.
The Phillies-Rockies game at Coors Field in Denver was postponed by rain. The teams are scheduled for a day-night doubleheader today — when the forecast calls for snow.