By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — Cody Reed may want to sit down next to Homer Bailey and ask, “What was it like and what can I do?”
It was 2008 and Bailey started eight games for the Cincinnati Reds and was 0-and-6 with a 7.93 earned run average.
Reed made his eighth start of 2016 for the Reds Wednesday night in Great American Ball Park and when the evening ended, a 5-4 St. Louis Cardinals victory, Reed was 0-and-6 with a 7.30 earned run average.
Bailey’s and Reed’s number nearly match, but Bailey was in his second year with the Reds at the time while Reed, a 22-year-old left hander, is in his first major league season, trying to clear his way through the tall timbers obscuring his way.
AND GUESS WHAT? AFTER the game Bailey went up to Reed and said, “My house. Tonight. We’re gonna talk. Be there.” Reed said he would.
When Bailey was told by a writer to tell Reed what he went through in 2008, Bailey said, “I did. I’m going to get him straightened out tonight with some tough love. Sometimes you just need to. I sure was where he is now back then. And he has a lot of talent. He’s a good kid who works hard. It is just too fast for him right now and the firsti innings are killing him.”
Reed’s night began rockily when he gave up four runs in the top of the first and used up 36 pitches to get through it.
He gave up a two-run double to Brandon Moss and a two-run, two-out single to No. 8 hitter Greg Garcia as the Cardinals forged ahead, 4-0.
“Let him get his head kicked in for a while, just a little bit, and he’ll figure it out,” said Bailey.
THE REDS RETRIEVED TWO of those runs in the bottom of the first against Michael Wacha when the first three Reds singled for a run — Tyler Holt, Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto, extending Votto’s hitting streak to 17 games. The second run scored on a fielder’s choice by Brandon Phillips.
Scott Schebler, called up from Louisville after Jay Bruce was traded, was in Bruce’s old spot in right field and singled in the firsti nning, giving him four hits in his first six at bats since his recall.
And his glove? Well, in the fifth inning Jedd Gyorko hit one to deep right. Schebler drifted back, timed his leap, and burglarized Gyorko of a home run.
But the next batter, Stephen Piscotty, hit one where nobodby but a fan could catch it, way up into the left field seats for a home run and a 5-2 St. Louis lead.
WHEN IT CAME TIME to pinch-hit for Reed after the fifth, manager Bryan Price checked his bench and the bench was nearly bare. Because the team is carrying 13 pitchers and Zack Cozart has a sore finger, Price had only three available healthy players — backup catcher Ramon Cabrera, outfielder Billy Hamilton, taking the day off, and Tony Renda.
Price opted to send up pitcher Josh Smith to pinch-hit after he had warmed up to replace Reed. And Smith led the inning with a double to left field, but didn’t score when Tyler Holt, Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto all made outs
Smith’s double was the first hit by a pitcher pinch-hitting for the Reds since Micah Owings singled off LA’s Hiroki Kuroda on June 15, 2010.
“Some of the things that you’ll do with a three-man bench,” said Price. “Smitty handles the bat well. He can hit a little bit for a pitcher and he gave us a nice start to that inning.”
FOR THE NIGHT, REED PITCHED five innings and gave up five runs, eight hits, walked one and struck out one, needing 98 pitches to get that far
“Right now, this is the big leagues and this is what it’s all about,” said Price. “There aren’t a whole lot of guys who come up here and immediately succeed. A lot of guys get punched in the face. They have to get up and punch back. And he has been punched in the face a few times and he has to get back up and punch back a little bit. He has to be better in those early innings and make good pitchings in the first inning and roll out a 10 or 12-pitch first inning.
“That inevitably will happen and I know it is frustratiing to watch it,” Price added. “But this a guy we all believe in and we believe he’ll turn the corner, no question about it. It is the frustration of taking those baby steps and watching him work through some challenging times.”
The Reds drew to within one run in the sixth against relief pitcher Matt Bowman on Adam Duvall’s triple and a single by Phillips for one run. It looked as if Scott Schebler hit into a double play, but the Reds challenged the call at second base and the play was reversed. Phillips was safe because Gyorko was not on the bag when he took the throw. That enabled Phillips to score when Ivan DeJesus Jr. singled to left, cutting the St. Louis lead to 5-4.
Smith shut down the Cardinals for two innings, giving up no runs, no hits, one walk and he struck out three.
LEFT HANDER KEVIN SIEGRIST arrived in the eighth and he quickly struck out Votto. He walked Adam Duvall and wild-pitched him to second. Phillips flied meekly to center field and Schebler struck out, leaving the Reds a run down.
Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh, against whom Schebler hit a three-run game-winning walk-off home run in the ninth Tuesday, tried to close this one off, too.
He retired Ivan DeJesus Jr., but Tucker Barnhart singled to right. Billy Hamilton pinch-ran for Barnhart and Ramon Cabrera batted for pitcher Michael Lorenzen. Hamilton was trying to steal second when Cabrera flied out to center, so Hamilton had to return to first.
With Tyler Holt batting and two outs, Hamilton stole his 37th base of the season on the first pitch, putting the tying run on second base. Holt, though, struck out on a 3-and-2 pitch to end it.