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Reds give struggling Bailey run support in loss

Veteran righty labors through 5 innings; Suarez, Blandino go deep
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- Homer Bailey is winless in 2018 for myriad reasons. Sure, there have been games where the Reds' starting pitcher had a good game but didn't get run support. But Tuesday's 7-6 loss to the Brewers at Great American Ball Park was certainly not one of those.

Bailey was down 3-0 after the top of the first inning on back-to-back homers by Travis Shaw and Jesus Aguilar, but the lineup rallied back to even the game in the bottom of the first. Ryan Braun's two-run double in the fifth inning put Milwaukee ahead for good. The common theme: all three run-scoring hits came with two outs.

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CINCINNATI -- Homer Bailey is winless in 2018 for myriad reasons. Sure, there have been games where the Reds' starting pitcher had a good game but didn't get run support. But Tuesday's 7-6 loss to the Brewers at Great American Ball Park was certainly not one of those.

Bailey was down 3-0 after the top of the first inning on back-to-back homers by Travis Shaw and Jesus Aguilar, but the lineup rallied back to even the game in the bottom of the first. Ryan Braun's two-run double in the fifth inning put Milwaukee ahead for good. The common theme: all three run-scoring hits came with two outs.

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Over his five innings, Bailey gave up five earned runs and six hits with one walk and one strikeout. The Reds have dropped the first two games of the three-game series vs. the Brewers after taking two of three from the Twins.

In the top of the first, Christian Yelich hit a one-out single. Two batters later, Shaw got a 3-2 pitch and lifted it to right field for the two-run homer.

Video: MIL@CIN: Shaw, Aguilar go back-to-back in the 1st

"Changeup, splitter, whatever. Right there with two strikes, try to protect," Shaw said. "If it's around the zone, put it in play, give yourself a chance. He left it middle, middle away. Put a good swing on it".

Aguilar went deep two pitches later on a fastball when the count was 0-1.

"The first one was a split where I got too much of the plate," Bailey said of Shaw's homer. "The second one I made the pitch where I wanted to. I just shouldn't have thrown it there. A little bit of lack of preparation."

In seven starts this season, Bailey is 0-4 with a 4.81 ERA. The Reds are 0-7 when he starts. There's been only one other time he's dealt with similar futility to start a campaign in the big leagues, as he went 0-6 in eight starts as a rookie in 2008.

Video: MIL@CIN: Votto makes sliding catch on pop bunt

With eight homers allowed for the season, Bailey is tied for the National League lead. Going in, according to Statcast™, hitters were barreling the ball 9.7 percent of the time on all of his pitches after it was 4.6 percent for his 18 starts in 2017.

Three of Bailey's homers in 2018 have come against his slider, so it's no coincidence that coming into the night -- opposing hitters were slugging .800 against it, according to Statcast™. That's ranked highest in the Majors.

Bailey worked on his slider between starts and was asked how that went.

"It's going so well the offense put up six runs, and we still lost," Bailey said.

Video: MIL@CIN: Riggleman sees positives despite loss

Interim manager Jim Riggleman pulled Bailey with 86 pitches after the fifth.

"Homer battled for us tonight," Riggleman said. "They got a couple more off of him in the middle of the game in the fifth. He was pretty labored there, and we got him out of there."

Heading into the evening, the Reds scored only 12 runs in the first six Bailey starts -- including six while he was actually in the game. This time, his lineup picked him up when he went down early.

Following the three-run top of the first, the Reds were able to put a rally together in the bottom half against Brewers starter Chase Anderson. Jose Peraza was a catalyst as he led off with a single, stole second base and scored on a one-out RBI single to left field by Joey Votto. Two batters later with two outs, Eugenio Suarez attacked a first pitch and drove a two-run homer to left field.

Video: MIL@CIN: Suarez sends 2-run shot to left-center

Milwaukee added a run in the sixth inning against David Hernandez with an RBI triple by Jonathan Villar that got past Scott Schebler by the wall in right field. In the top of the seventh inning with Amir Garrett pitching, Hernan Perez lifted a 2-1 pitch that bounced into the first row of seats in left field. The long ball was confirmed upon a crew chief review.

The Reds didn't stay quiet in the later innings against the Brewers' bullpen. Peraza's leadoff bunt single against Matt Albers started another rally that led to the bases being loaded with one out. Suarez attacked a first pitch and picked up a sacrifice fly that made it a two-run game. Leading off the eighth inning against Jacob Barnes, Alex Blandino notched his first big league homer with a drive to left field, and it was a one-run game.

Video: MIL@CIN: Blandino connects for solo home run in 8th

"Many times, we've been down this many runs," Riggleman said after his team's record fell to 7-23. "Great effort to come back, I'm proud of the guys the way they're battling to come back into it but we're just not quite getting over the hump. That's where we are right now. We're going to get out of it. I really know we're getting closer and we are going to get out of this."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Reds rallies snuffed out: The Reds twice had the bases loaded in the seventh inning but came away with one run on the Suarez sac fly. Following Blandino's homer in the eighth, they rallied again on Barnes with a Billy Hamilton single and a Jesse Winker pinch-hit single that put runners on the corners and one out. Brewers manager Craig Counsell called for Jeremy Jeffress to face Votto with the go-ahead run at first base. With a 96-mph fastball up and on the inside corner, Votto looked at strike 3. Schebler grounded out to first base to end the threat.

Video: MIL@CIN: Jeffress gets groundout to escape 8th

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the sixth inning after his single, Hamilton was caught stealing second on a great throw by Manny Pina. According to Statcast™, Pina's pop time was 1.78 seconds -- the MLB average pop time to second base is 2.01 seconds. It's actually the 2nd-best pop time on a caught-stealing at second base since Statcast™ started in 2015. The only one faster was also by the Brewers: Martin Maldonado, 1.77 on April 14, 2016. Also, Hamilton was very fast on the play. His sprint speed on the attempt was 30.4 feet per second (30+ is elite speed).

Video: MIL@CIN: Pina throws strike to catch Hamilton

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Adam Duvall wasn't involved in one, but two, replay challenges for pickoff plays in the bottom of the fifth inning. Duvall, who drew a leadoff walk, slid back to first base on an Anderson pickoff throw and was called safe. The Brewers challenged but the replay official could not definitively determine that he was tagged in time by Aguilar. Therefore, the call stood.

Video: MIL@CIN: Brewers challenge pickoff, call stands

With two outs after a Suarez walk and with Tucker Barnhart batting, Anderson spun and fired a pickoff throw to second base. This time, Duvall was called out and the Reds challenged. Once again upon review, it was decided that it couldn't be determined by the official whether Duvall got back in time. Once again, the call stood.

"I know that stings him to get picked there," Riggleman said. "I don't think it's a matter of doing too much. You've got to give Milwaukee credit. They made a visit to the mound. I'm sure they put that play. That's preparation and execution on their part."

Video: MIL@CIN: Reds challenge pickoff, call stands in 6th 

UP NEXT
The three-game series vs. Milwaukee wraps up at 7:10 p.m. ET Wednesday. Luis Castillo (1-3, 4.65 ERA) will seek to rebound from a career-low one-plus inning pitched on Friday at Minnesota with five earned runs allowed. He's been working between starts to adjust his arm angle so his fastball doesn't run flat across the plate. Lefty Wade Miley will be making his Brewers debut in the game after being activated from the disabled list. 

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.

Cincinnati Reds, Homer Bailey, Alex Blandino, Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton, Eugenio Suarez