NEW YORK -- For only the second time in his career, and the first time since Sept. 23, 2009, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey had a start of at least six innings without recording a strikeout when he faced the Yankees on Wednesday.That wasn't necessarily a bad thing, as Bailey wanted
NEW YORK -- For only the second time in his career, and the first time since Sept. 23, 2009, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey had a start of at least six innings without recording a strikeout when he faced the Yankees on Wednesday.
That wasn't necessarily a bad thing, as Bailey wanted contact. Instead of being beat up by majestic Yanks hits, Wednesday's 9-5 loss had more soft hits that found holes.
"It was kind of my game plan going in -- to get ground balls, get them out early and try to go deep in the game, and try to give the bullpen a bit of a break," Bailey said. "Man, they just hit 'em where we ain't. I made some pretty good pitches, and they found holes."
Over his six innings, plus three batters in the seventh, Bailey allowed seven runs (five earned) with 10 hits, one walk and one hit batter. Nine of the 10 hits were singles, and two of them were infield hits.
Bailey didn't give up a hit until Todd Frazier reached on a third-inning single to third base, where Eugenio Suarez briefly bobbled the ball. A two-out single by Ronald Torreyes into center was followed by another infield hit from Brett Gardner, and Clint Frazier flared a soft RBI single into right field.
"That's good baseball," Reds manager Bryan Price said of the Yankees lineup, "fighting and putting the ball in play and forcing us to make plays. Sometimes we did, sometimes we didn't today. It ended up being a difference maker."
Another two-out RBI single in the fifth inning was a roller through the hole out of the reach of shortstop Jose Peraza.
"That's great two-out hitting and fighting with two strikes. It really created the two early rallies," Price said.
A two-base throwing error by Peraza with one out in the sixth led to two more runs. Another slow roller, Chase Headley's single up the middle, scored a run.
Bailey pitched into the seventh, but he couldn't record an out in that frame. His biggest mistake was a leadoff walk to Clint Frazier before Gary Sanchez's RBI double and Matthew Holliday's RBI single.
"In the seventh with a walk, a leadoff walk will always get you," Bailey said. "The manager trusts you to have a clean seventh, and you don't even get an out."
It turned a modestly decent line into a rough-looking one, especially after Tony Cingrani gave up the inherited run with a homer to Didi Gregorius.
"The way I'm pitching, and Tucker [Barnhart] is doing a great job back there, we have so much faith in our defense, why not make them put it in play?" Bailey said. "Why not make them hit it on the ground? Playing in our park, fly balls isn't the way you want to go. It's a tough go at it today."
In seven starts since returning from Feb. 18 elbow surgery, Bailey is 2-5 with an 8.37 ERA and 33 1/3 innings. Had he gotten through the seventh on Wednesday, it would have been the first time in three injury-plagued seasons.
"It's kind of been some peaks and valleys," Bailey said. "This game and the last one, sometimes I feel a little snake bit with some of the hits I've been giving up -- a lot of singles.
"What do you change when you're giving up ground balls through the infield and jam hits over the second baseman and shortstop? What do you do? It's been a little frustrating. Hopefully those things will start to go our way a little bit."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.