While it was no no-hitter, Homer Bailey picked up the win, as the Cincinnati Reds toppled the San Francisco Giants by a final of 8-3 to open the three-game series on Tuesday night.
The last time Bailey faced off against these Giants inside Great American Ball Park, it was his show to steal. Tonight, he was just another spectator to witness the unleashing of the Reds’ bats.
Leading off the game with an opposite field double, Billy Hamilton had the ballpark moving towards fervor level just a single batter into the contest for the Reds. His speed paid incredible dividends, going from almost picked off at second base, to cruising around third and scoring after Giants starter Tim Lincecum panicked and chucked the ball into center field.
The scoring would not cease there against Lincecum in the first.
Driving in his first run since returning from the disabled list, Jay Bruce’s RBI double to put the Reds ahead 2-1 must have had some extra significance as he looks to break out of his current slumber. He could trot home for a run as the next batter, Devin Mesoraco, clobbered a Lincecum offering for a no-doubter of a two-run home run.
After Mesoraco’s tape measure shot, the Reds would go ahead 4-1. Impossible to know at the time, but the Giants would not reach that number all evening long.
Looking to build off what could be classified as his best start all season long, it was up to Homer Bailey to keep the Reds’ winning streak alive.
Surrendering a first inning home run to Hunter Pence was swept under the rug, mainly due to the fact that the pitch nearly sailed to the backstop, and hitting it for a home run would be such a “Hunter Pence” thing to do.
Not having pitched well with a lead all season long, Bailey continued that ugly trend into the second inning. Nickel and dimed by the bottom of the Giants order into giving up a run, Bailey seemed as if he were about to go down with the ship as the third inning began.
Just before he could cataclysm, Bailey bowed his neck and got Buster Posey to pop up, Pablo Sandoval to record a loud out on a line drive to Billy Hamilton (that brought in a run), and Michael Morse to weakly groundout. Escaping with a 4-3 lead, Bailey would never look back.
Scuffling just once more in the fifth, Bailey got off the hook by blowing away Pablo Sandoval with a 96 MPH fastball.
Having been silenced by Lincecum the past three innings, Billy Hamilton would once again be at the forefront of a Reds offensive explosion.
It is no secret that when Hamilton puts the ball on the ground, good things happen. In this case, a four-run inning happened.
Having already committed two errors earlier in the game (Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey), the floodgates would open for the usually sure-handed men from San Francisco. Attempting to foolish nab Hamilton on an easy steal of second base, Hector Sanchez chucked the ball into center field from his knees, allowing him to scoot over to third.
A Brandon Phillips two-RBI double would plunge the Reds back ahead, 6-3. Taking off on first move, Phillips would swipe third, before being driven in by Jay Bruce, his second RBI of the evening.
The stolen bases and errors would not cease, as Bruce swiped second before Sanchez threw another ball to Angel Pagan in center field. Eventually, Bruce would score on an infield tapper that was not retrieved in time, allowing the Redlegs to blow open the game and jump ahead 8-3.
Bailey would finish the day with a quality start, and a win, under his belt. The last Giants batter to reach base would be off Posey’s single in the fifth inning. Not his best start of the year, Bailey still did just enough to get the job done and keep his team in the game.
For the combination of J.J. Hoover and Logan Ondrusek, it was nine batters faced, and nine batters retired. Hoover took care of both the seventh and eighth innings in tidy fashion, while Ondrusek made mincemeat of the Giants in the ninth to seal the Reds’ fourth consecutive victory.
Rain is on the radar for Wednesday as the two teams will attempt to get underway at 7:10 p.m. Hopefully by game time, the rain will have cleared out so that Ryan Vogelsong and Tony Cingrani can square off in the middle game of this three-game set.