Bailey beats hometown team again

Published 2:45 am Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CINCINNATI (AP) — Homer Bailey lived up to his name by beating his hometown team for the fourth time.

Bailey shut Houston down again and came up with a career-high three hits and Devin Mesoraco homered to help the Cincinnati Reds snap a four-game losing streak with a 6-4 win over the Astros on Tuesday night.

Brandon Phillips also homered while Jay Bruce had three hits and Dave Sappelt and Juan Francisco each added two hits each as the Reds broke out of a slump. Their nine hits through five innings were one more than their total from the previous three games.

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Bailey (9-7), who went into the game 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts against the Astros this season, set a career-high in wins while allowing six hits and two runs with two walks and five strikeouts in seven innings.

“He did everything tonight,” Dusty Baker said. “He fielded and got three hits. We needed him to go deep in the game with our bullpen situation.”

Bailey is from LaGrange, Texas a little over 100 miles from Houston.

“I like to pitch in Houston more,” Bailey said.

The 25-year set career highs even though he missed the first five weeks of the season with an impingement in his right shoulder.

“My number one goal for next year is to stay healthy,” Bailey said. “I had some injuries that were no one’s fault but if you look at my wins per start, I’d be at 15 wins over a full season.”

Houston manager Brad Mills has seen enough of Bailey for the year.

“How about that not only pitching against us but offensively too. He’s had some good outings against us,” Mills said.

Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 34th save.

Houston starter Bud Norris (6-11) left the game two outs into the third inning with discomfort in his right shoulder. Norris allowed seven hits and three runs with two walks and three strikeouts while setting a career high in losses.

Juan Francisco led off Cincinnati’s second against Norris with a single to center. After Drew Stubbs, extending his single-season franchise strikeout record to 199, Mesoraco hit a 369-foot line drive into the left field seats for his second career homer.

The Reds loaded the bases on singles by Paul Janish and Bailey and a walk by Phillips, and Sappelt grounded an RBI single up the middle for a 3-0 lead.

Houston cut the lead to 3-2 in the third on Jordan Shafer’s leadoff walk and J.D. Martinez’s one-out homer into the visitors’ bullpen down the right field line.

The 334-foot drive on Bailey’s first pitch was Martinez’s ninth homer of the season and first since Aug. 20. That matched the number of runs scored by the Astros in Bailey’s three previous starts against them this season.

The Reds regained their three-run lead in the fourth on Bailey’s leadoff single, Sappelt’s one-out walk, a wild pitch and Bruce’s two-run single, which snapped a 0-for-16 drought.

Pinch-hitter Chris Johnson roughed up reliever Bill Bray for a two-run homer into the second deck of the left field bleachers in the eighth. It was his seventh homer of the season and first pinch-hit homer of his career.

Phillips countered in the bottom of the eighth with his 18th homer of the season into the Reds’ bullpen in left-center field. It was his sixth in the first nine games of this homestand.

“I’m just swinging the bat,” Phillips said. “I feel comfortable at the top of the lineup.”

The win tied Baker with Earl Weaver with 1,480 career wins and 21st place all-time.

“It took a week to get,” Baker said. “It’s nice to move up the ladder but we really just needed the win.”

Notes: Reds RHP Johnny Cueto will finish six innings short of qualifying for the ERA championship. Cueto, who left his last start with a strained muscle in his upper right back, said Tuesday that doctors have advised him to not throw for a while. Currently second to Los Angeles LHP Clayton Kershaw in the ERA race, Cueto needed six innings to reach the 162 he needs to qualify for the title. … The start of the game was delayed 13 minutes by rain. … Cincinnati’s Joey Votto singled in the ninth after going a season-high 14 at bats without a hit. … Houston’s Brett Wallace is hitless in his last 27 at bats after striking out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. … Houston LHP Wandy Rodriguez, Wednesday’s scheduled starter, has been on a strikeout tear lately, with a total of 33 over his last 24 2-3 innings, spanning four starts. He needs two to reach 1,000 for his career. … Cincinnati’s starter, RHP Bronson Arroyo, will very likely see his streak of consecutive 200-inning seasons snapped at six. He has 182 innings with two remaining starts.