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Bailey bouncing back but bullpen breaks down

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Slowly but surely, Homer Bailey is working his way back from right forearm surgery.

The Cincinnati Reds are staying patient with their starter with two career no-hitters.

Bailey allowed seven hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings in his second start back from the disabled list, but the Reds bullpen faltered in a 4-2 loss Thursday to the Milwaukee Brewers.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak, though the team heads home feeling more assured about Bailey.

“I think he managed the game better. I don’t think he had as good of stuff as far as sheer velocity, but I think this is kind of the road we’re going to travel until he’s 100 percent,” manager Bryan Price said.

He thinks Bailey is fine physically, but wants to see him rebuild his endurance. The righty went 5 2/3 innings for a second straight start.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Bailey said about his recovery. “Obviously, this is my first time going through arm surgery. This is just part of it. You go out there, do your job and try to win the game.”

Kyle Lohse (1-3) was better for Milwaukee, which snapped an eight-game losing streak. He pitched seven neat innings after losing his first three starts with a 10.34 ERA.

Closer Francisco Rodriguez pumped his right arm and yelled after recording the final out. The win was a relief for the Brewers, whose 3-13 mark is the worst in the majors.

Rodriguez posted his second save of the season and 350th of his career.

“We needed to get something going here,” said Lohse, who allowed three hits and two runs. “I feel like it was a total team effort.”

Jean Segura drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the seventh. The hit off Kevin Gregg (0-2) went to center field, and Billy Hamilton’s throw home was up the third base line, allowing Logan Schafer to score.

The Brewers tacked on an insurance run in the eighth off reliever Manny Parra when Ryan Braun stole third and dashed home after third baseman Kristopher Negron allowed the throw from catcher Tucker Barnhart to squirt away.

“We have to come in throwing strikes and challenging opponents,” Price said. “We’ve taken some leads into the late innings and they’ve gotten away from us so we have to be better.”

BYRD’S WORD

Marlon Byrd homered for the Reds, a two-run shot that tied it at 2 in the fifth. The outfielder is looking for a spark after coming into the day hitting .115.

“Gosh, if we were in June, yeah, the panic button would have been slammed,” Byrd said. “Everyone goes through a slump during the season, it just looks bad during the beginning.”

SLOWED DOWN

The Brewers also escaped without giving up a run despite allowing Hamilton, the Reds’ speedy leadoff man, to reach base twice.

Hamilton was 9 of 9 on stolen base attempts coming into the day before Martin Maldonado became the first catcher to throw him out. Maldonado nailed Hamilton at second in the sixth with the game tied at 2.

“Lohse did a great job varying his times to the plate. He was very, very quick to the plate. Maldonado can throw well so I was hoping we would get an off-speed pitch there,” Price said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: Maldonado will play every day until he needs a day off, manager Ron Roenicke said. Maldonado is replacing Jonathan Lucroy, who is expected to spend at least a month on the disabled list with a fractured big left toe. … Rodriguez appeared to be fine after the reliever tweaked his right wrist on a play at the plate that allowed the go-ahead run to score off his wild pitch the previous night. The Reds won 2-1.

UP NEXT

Reds: Mike Leake (0-1) gets the start against the Cubs with Cincinnati opening a six-game homestand. Leake is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his last six starts against Chicago.

Brewers: Matt Garza (1-2) opens a three-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals. Opponents are hitting .300 (21 for 70) against the right-hander this season.