For one night, on Independence Day in the Rocky Mountains, Homer Bailey was back.
Facing the high-powered Colorado Rockies in the Coors Field launching pad, Bailey held the Rockies to one run and eight hits over six innings.
And the Reds unleashed three home runs to score an 8-1 victory.
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THE BIG NEWS, THOUGH, FROM the Cincinnati viewpoint, was a Bailey who resembled the Bailey of old, the Bailey who owns two no-hitters.
After two horrible outings after coming off the disabled list, Bailey survived a wobbly first inning to display composure, command and control.
After the Reds gave him a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on Adam Duvall’s two-out double, Bailey retired the first Rockie in the bottom of the first.
Then he gave up three straight singles for a run and it resembled his previous two horrendous outings. But he coaxed an inning-ending double play out of Mark Reynolds.
FROM THERE IT WAS A CLEAR PATH to a victory for Bailey — no runs, five hits and one walk over his final five innings. It was only the fourth time in 88 games in Coors Field that the Reds held the Rockies to one or zero runs. And all eight hits off Bailey were singles.
The Reds gave him the runs he needed in the second inning against Colorado left hander Kyle Freeland. Earlier in the season, Freeland held the Reds to one run and two hits over five innings in Cincinnati.
And the Reds entered the game with a 4-and-14 record in games started by left handers.
Scott Schebler, 1 for 18 when he led the second inning with a double to right field. Schebler took third on a fly ball and Tucker Barnhart walked. Bailey bunted Barnhart to second and Billy Hamilton singled to left for two runs and and a 3-1 lead.
HAMILTON MISSED MONDAY’S game with a sore back and was still showing the effects. He led the first with a single and came around to scored on Duvall’s double. Hamilton has scored 20 first-inning runs, tops in the National League.
The Reds scored another two-out run in the third and, in fact, had two outs with nobody on. Eugenio Suarez singled, Schebler had an infield hit to shortstop and Peraza banged a run-scoring single to make it 5-1.
The victory was sealed in the eighth when the Reds scored three runs on a pair of home runs. Peraza ripped a one-out home run down the left field line, Barnhart walked on a full count and the irrepressible Scooter Gennett ripped a two-run pinch-hit home run, his 14th of the season, tying the career high he achieved last year.
After getting only five hits Monday during a 5-3 loss, the Reds ripped 10 Tuesday, Schebler leading the way with three. Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza each contributed two. And it was a night when the team’s two All-Stars, Zack Cozart and Joey Votto, went 0 for 10.
It was tough assignments for Bailey’s first three starts this season — Washington, Milwaukee and Colorado, and the first two were disasters. But this one was a keeper.
“We executed a lot of good pitches to a team that is very dangerous in this park,” said Bailey during his post-game interview on Fox Sports Ohio. “All singles. That’s impressive. That’s hard to do. We gave up a run on three softly hit singles in the first inning. I’ve had a lot of bad starts so I wasn’t really worried about. My command was a lot better. We didn’t give up a bunch of free passes.”
Amazingly, the top five in the Rockies batting order had nine of the team’s ten hits, but only pushed across one run because they were 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.