Cincinnati, OH – Mat Latos hurled 7 1/3 scoreless innings as the Cincinnati Reds held on for a 3-1 victory in the first of two meetings against the Oakland Athletics at Great American Ball Park.
Latos (11-3) allowed just four hits and three walks and retired eight of the final nine batters he faced while improving to 7-1 at home this year.
Shin-Soo Choo went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and two runs scored while Jay Bruce added a solo homer for the Reds, who got back in the win column after losing two of three to the St. Louis Cardinals last weekend.
"We just needed a win," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We have to build on it."
The AL West-leading A's were nearly shut out for the third time during their current 1-5 slide, thanks in part to going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranding eight baserunners.
"We're not swinging our bats, there's no doubt about that," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "We just have to grind through it."
Derek Norris hit a pinch-hit homer off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth to avoid the whitewash.
Dan Straily (6-6) lasted just four innings and allowed two runs on six hits as the rookie dropped his fourth straight start since being recalled from Triple- A Sacramento.
Bruce muscled an opposite-field shot into the seats in left-center leading off the second, and the Reds got another run in the third when Brandon Phillips, who hit into a double play to end a promising first inning, singled in Choo.
After battling through a 26-pitch first inning, Latos needed just 35 to get through the next three frames, the stretch highlighted by Bruce lunging for a run-saving catch at the warning track in the fourth.
A Phillips error put two A's in scoring position with one out in the fifth, and after retiring Eric Sogard on a harmless pop out, Latos walked Jed Lowrie to load the bases.
Yoenis Cespedes, though, grounded out sharply to end the threat, and an unearned run in the bottom half pushed the Reds' lead to 3-0. Choo greeted reliever Jerry Blevins with a double and Derrick Robinson followed with a bouncer back to the mound that Blevins threw away, allowing Choo to score.
Latos was pulled after Lowrie doubled down the first-base line with one out in the eighth, and J.J. Hoover retired the next two hitters to bridge the gap to Chapman.
The hard-throwing Reds closer struck out Josh Donaldson and Josh Reddick prior to Norris' blast to straightaway center, then came back to strike out pinch- hitter Alberto Callaspo for his 26th save of the season.
This was Oakland's first trip to Great American Ball Park ... Hoover has thrown 20 2/3 scoreless innings since June 13 -- a span of 18 straight appearances ... Phillips posted his team-leading 84th RBI ... Sogard extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a double in the first inning ... Straily has not won since July 9 ... The A's have scored two runs in their last 25 innings ... Oakland swept a two-game home set with the Reds from June 25-26.