Homer Bailey and Billy Hamilton flashed some secondary skills to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a second consecutive victory and series win against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Bailey slapped a two-run single to center to complement eight strong innings on the mound, and six pitches later Hamilton showed he has a little pop to go along with his trademark speed by launching a two-run homer to right.
It was all the offense the Reds would get and all they would need in a 4-1 triumph Sunday afternoon before a Great American Ball Park crowd of 30,222.
“I’m not going to sit here and say I’m a great hitter, but I think it’s important for even your starting pitcher to be able to handle the bat,” Bailey said after tying his career high with the two RBIs, which were one more than he had all of last year.
“You don’t want to go up there and be an easy out,” Bailey continued. “If you can handle the bat a little bit, put the ball in play, whether it’s a pop up to the outfield or a seeing-eye single, good things can happen.”
The hit gave the Reds a 2-1 lead, and Hamilton quickly made it 4-1 by crushing a 3-2 pitch from David Buchanan into the moon deck.
“That was special, especially for me,” Hamilton said of his second major-league home run. “I don’t hit home runs.”
For Bailey (7-3), the win his sixth in his last seven decisions. He allowed one earned run on six hits while striking out seven and walking three.
“He had a good slider, he had a good split and he was able to drop the curveball,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “And then when he needed an out, he could go out and slam the door with a fastball like he did when he froze Howard with a 97 fastball on the paint down and away. That was an impressive pitch.”
It was an impressive inning against the middle of the Phillies lineup after throwing 108 pitches through the first seven frames.
“When you talk to a starting pitcher and you go ‘How you doing,’ and there’s that hesitation, you know that whatever comes out of their mouth afterwards is typically a line of (crap),” Price said. “He’s one of those guys that tastes the finish line, and he wanted to go back out.
“What an effort,” Price added. “That was a special start, and we needed it.”
Bailey, who finished with a season-high 121 pitches, said in addition to feeling strong he also felt obligated to go back out for the eighth.
“The bullpen has picked me up so much,” he said. “The biggest thing I wanted to do was give those guys the day off. I know that there’s going to be those days where I get pulled after six (with) a low pitch count because we need runs. And then there’s also today’s like today when your team asks a little bit more of you. Sometimes you just have to give a little bit more.”
The win was the first of Bailey’s career against Philadelphia, leaving Arizona as the only team he has not defeated.
Aroldis Chapman locked things up by striking out the side in the ninth for his ninth save, keeping the Reds 7.5 games behind Milwaukee in the National League Central.
Coming on the heels of Saturday’s 6-5 victory against the Phillies, Sunday’s win gave the Reds back-to-back wins at home for the first time in more than a month. The last time they did it was May 3-4 against Milwaukee.
Dodgers at Reds, 7:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410