Bailey gives Reds’ pitchers back-to-back shutout wins

Published 2:28 am Thursday, May 13, 2010

PITTSBURGH — Homer Bailey became the latest Cincinnati starter to play a simple game of pitch-and-catch against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Bailey threw a four-hitter without walking anyone Wednesday, leading the Reds over Pittsburgh 5-0 for a three-game sweep.

Bailey followed Johnny Cueto’s one-hit gem at PNC Park on Tuesday. The Reds became the first team in the majors in nearly 10 years to pitch back-to-back, complete-game shutouts without a walk — Oakland’s Tim Hudson and Barry Zito did it on Sept. 9-10, 2000, against Tampa Bay, according to STATS LLC.

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“That’s my first complete game as a pro, and I didn’t even know how may pitches I had,” said Bailey, who struck out six. “All of a sudden I looked up and thought, ’Oh, I’m in the ninth now. Cool.”’

“(Catcher Ryan Hanigan) did an outstanding job behind the plate. We just kind of worked together the whole time,” Bailey said. “I just sit there and throw the damn thing to the glove. It’s that easy, right?”

Bailey (1-2) needed only 90 pitches — 73 for strikes — to close out the Reds’ fifth straight win.

Pittsburgh accounted for only one run and 10 hits in the series. Just like Cueto, Bailey took advantage of the aggressive Pirates batters, not going to a single three-ball count and throwing more than four pitches to a single batter just six times.

Twenty-two of Bailey’s first 23 pitches were strikes. The longest at-bat of the game? Opposing pitcher Zach Duke drawing eight pitches before striking out in the third.

Pittsburgh’s Garrett Jones, who had two of the four hits and the only extra-base hit Wednesday, gave credit to Cincinnati’s pitchers but said the Pirates made them out to look better than they are.

“We’re just missing some pitches,” he said. “And getting pitches to hit and not doing anything with them. I feel like we just start giving at-bats away.”

Joey Votto and Drew Stubbs homered and Brandon Phillips added two hits for the Reds, who outscored the Pirates 16-1 in the series.

Bailey won for the first time this season and improved to 5-0 lifetime against the Pirates, including 3-0 at PNC Park. A day earlier, Cueto threw 103 pitches in his first career complete game.

“That as well-pitched two days as I’ve seen pitched in a long time,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “That was epitome of pitch conservation right there.”

The Reds got consecutive complete-game shutouts for the first time since June 9-10, 1989, when Jose Rijo and Tom Browning did it at Dodger Stadium.

“It’s unbelievable the way those guys threw back-to-back games,” Votto said. “Homer did pretty good carrying us all day, just like Johnny did last night.”

Ranked 28th in the majors in batting average entering the game, Pittsburgh was shut out for the fifth time in 34 games this season.

“Get some hits,” Pirates manager John Russell said when asked how his team can get more offense. “That’s about all we can do. Somebody’s got to start getting some hits.

“You throw 90 pitches and only (17) balls… (Bailey) was efficient… Not taking anything away from him. He pitched a good game. But there’s just nobody swinging the bat very well at all right now,” he said.

Votto homered for the third time in his last five games — his eighth of the season — in the first.

Stubbs’ homer, his third, was a solo shot in the fourth. Duke (2-4) lost his fourth consecutive decision.

NOTES: Pirates SS Ronny Cedeno was not in the lineup because of a bruised right wrist. … On April 21-22, Milwaukee also shut the Pirates. The Brewers outscored Pittsburgh 36-1 in that series. … Bailey lowered his career ERA against Pittsburgh to 1.58.