Reds’ Bailey, bullpen shut out Brewers
MILWAUKEE — If the Milwaukee Brewers finish on the outside looking in at the 2017 postseason, there’s a good chance they’ll have a picture of Homer Bailey on their dartboards over the winter.
Twice over the final month of the season Bailey held the Brewers in check but Wednesday night may have been the most painful as he held Milwaukee scoreless over seven innings as the Reds snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 6-0 victory at Miller Park.
“He’s pitched a couple of good ones against us,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell, whose team was eliminated from National League Central contention earlier in the day and fell 2 1/2 games behind the Rockies for the final NL wild-card spot with four games to play. “You have to earn these wins. Tonight we didn’t do much on both sides with starting pitching and then offensively we didn’t do well enough to give ourselves a chance.”
Bailey didn’t give the Brewers much to work with, moving his fastball around the zone with a biting slider mixed in for good measure. He scattered four hits and three walks while striking out five and worked seven full innings for the first time since Aug. 7, 2014.
“They asked me if I wanted to go in the seventh,” said Bailey, who made 17 starts this season after elbow and shoulder injuries limited to eight total over the previous two campaigns. “I knew my pitch count was a little bit high, and I’ve had absolutely zero success in the seventh so far this year but I kind of said ‘you know what? It’s the last one, we’ve got a big lead. It’s not like it’s going to cost our team the game.’ It was a very easy decision once you put everything into perspective.”
Cincinnati’s offense did its part, getting home runs from Joey Votto and Tucker Barnhart to cap off a 10-hit day.
Votto touched Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff for a two-out solo homer in the opening inning — his 36th of the year — while Barnhart’s seventh of the season kicked off what would be a five-run second inning for the Reds, who collected four singles in the inning and also got a double from Bailey.
“We knew he had good stuff and that he had a nice early start to his career but we were able to get the barrel to the ball and get ourselves in a position to score,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Woodruff wouldn’t get out of the inning. He was charged with all six of Cincinnati’s runs, giving up six hits and a walk over 2 1/3 innings.
“It’s very disappointing,” Woodruff said. “You always want to go out and give your team a chance to win and get deep in the ballgame. There in the third inning, I got myself in trouble. I thought I made some decent pitches and the ball just didn’t fall where I wanted it to. Some balls just got through the hole and that happens, but you just keep trying to make good pitches and push on.”
The Brewers’ bullpen put up zeroes the rest of the way but Milwaukee’s lineup couldn’t do anything against Bailey, who was challenged only once when singles by Travis Shaw and Stephen Vogt put two on with two out in the fourth.
Billy Hamilton preserved the shutout, making a perfect throw from center to get Shaw as he tried to score on a base hit by Orlando Arcia, getting Bailey out of the inning.
“He made a perfect throw and that’s what it took,” Counsell said. “It is two outs, so obviously nothing is guaranteed after that with two outs and we are going to be more aggressive with two outs. When you are down six, it costs you.”
NOTES: Reds SS Zach Cozart left the game in the fourth inning because of tightness in his right quad. He expects to miss Thursday’s game but return Friday when the Reds open up a three-game series with the Cubs at Wrigley Field. ... Brewers 1B Eric Thames suffered a contusion and left the game after fouling a pitch off his right foot in the eighth inning. X-rays on the foot came back negative, though Thames is likely to sit Thursday in the series finale. ... Milwaukee C Manny Pina missed a fifth consecutive game because of a sprained left thumb. ... The Brewers were eliminated from NL Central contention when the Cubs clinched the division title with a 5-1 victory in St. Louis earlier Wednesday. ... The Brewers and Reds wrap up their season series Thursday afternoon when Milwaukee LHP Brent Suter (3-2, 3.29 ERA) faces Cincinnati RHP Sal Romano (5-7, 4.43). ... Milwaukee leads the season series 10-8.