CLEVELAND -- Before Joey Votto's ninth-inning, bases-clearing, go-ahead double in the Reds' eventual 7-4 win over the Indians on Tuesday night at Progressive Field, a critical communication error was made, which perhaps led to the All-Star first baseman's clutch knock.Indians manager Terry Francona told pitching coach Carl Willis he wanted
CLEVELAND -- Before Joey Votto's ninth-inning, bases-clearing, go-ahead double in the Reds' eventual 7-4 win over the Indians on Tuesday night at Progressive Field, a critical communication error was made, which perhaps led to the All-Star first baseman's clutch knock.
Indians manager Terry Francona told pitching coach Carl Willis he wanted left-hander Oliver Perez to face Votto, a lefty. Instead of "O.P." -- Perez's initials -- Willis thought he heard "O.T.", the nickname for Dan Otero, a right-hander who went out to face Votto after closer Cody Allen allowed three runs in the ninth and loaded the bases for the first baseman.
It was a costly mistake the Reds took advantage of. But before Wednesday's series finale at Progressive Field, interim manager Jim Riggleman said a mental lapse is bound to happen to a manager once in a while.
"I would almost have to call somebody and question somebody who's been in the game for a long time if it hasn't happened to them at some point," Riggleman said. "Because there's just so many things said and done and decisions that are made, that the slightest misunderstanding can turn into that. … If you've done it 20 or 30 years, there's going to be a few of those."
Votto was 0-for-4 career against Otero, but drove a 3-2 fastball into the right-center-field alley. The rest was history. Eugenio Suarez singled home Votto, but Scooter Gennett -- who was intentionally walked -- was thrown out trying to break for third on the hit. The rally ended and closer Raisel Iglesias came out of the bullpen for his 19th save.
"[Willis] thought I said O.T., I said O.P," Francona said pregame on Wednesday. "It was a middle of an inning where all of our wheels were kind of spinning. I just wanted to make sure somebody was up in case Cody couldn't get through it."
Francona said he called for a team meeting to clear the air and wanted to make sure he was the one taking responsibility for it.
"It falls on me," Francona said. "But then, you've got to move on, too. So the best way for me to do that was, I actually talked to the team today and told them that I thought I messed up. And I apologized because I don't like messing up."
The Reds were only able to put up three hits against starter Trevor Bauer, who lasted eight innings and struck out 12. Riggleman said with the fashion of Tuesday's win, some momentum can carry into games that follow, and perhaps give the Reds a series sweep over their in-state rivals.
"There's just a lot of positivity to come into the next day with another tough challenge," Riggleman said. "We didn't beat Bauer, but we hung in there and kept it close. … So a feeling of, 'Hey let's just play nine and see what happens' -- maybe we jump out early, maybe we don't, but either way we've got a chance."
• General manager Nick Krall announced Wednesday that Homer Bailey will no longer pitch out of the bullpen at either the Minor or Major League levels. Krall said he hopes to have Bailey back in the Reds' rotation after he makes two more rehab starts with Triple-A Louisville.
"Moving forward, we think he is a starter," Krall said. "We just wanted to see if he could [pitch out of the bullpen] before the break and we decided that it was best we leave him as a starter."
Bailey, who is battling right knee inflammation, was put on the 10-day disabled list on June 2. He's appeared in five games with Louisville, starting four and is 1-2 with a 5.84 ERA in 24 2/3 innings. The 32-year-old right-hander made his last appearance Sunday against Toledo and allowed one hit through two shutout innings, striking out one.
In a start on July 3, he struck out eight and gave up one run on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.
"He pitched well and his last start is when he felt he was best," Krall said. "Stuff was coming back to where it was in the past and from the breaking ball to the fastball he threw strikes with everything and felt good."
Bailey has posted a 9-20 record in 38 Major League appearances since 2015. In that span, he's averaging a 6.49 ERA through 187 1/3 innings, 1.5 home runs per nine innings and 6.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
"Hopefully he feels good and ready to go," Krall said. "So, build up the next two starts and [hopefully] we've got the old Homer back."
Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.