By HAL McCOY
A couple of starts ago, when the Reds whipped the Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-1, the media approached starting pitcher Homer Bailey after the game and he said, “Go talk to the offense. They did it all tonight.”
Bailey could have used that refrain again Friday night in Milwaukee when the Cincinnati Reds nipped the fast-sliding Brewers, 11-10, in a heart-pounder.
Bailey was far from the sharpest nail in the toolbox, but an early barrage of runs carried the day for him.
HE NEEDED 102 PITCHES to cover five innings and he gave up only two runs and five hits, but walked five.
But the Reds pounded Milwaukee’s best pitcher, Jimmy Nelson, for 10 runs (nine earned) and 11 hits over 3 2/3 innings. They scored six in the third and three in the fourth. They scored all six in the third after two were out.
So when Bailey left, the Reds led, 10-2.
INCREDIBLY, THE BREWERS SCORED seven runs in the sixth against Blake Wood and Michael Lorenzen to pull within 10-9.
Wood faced five batters and retired none. Two runs scored on infield hits and Eric Thames hit a three-run home run, his ninth home run against the Reds this season.
That made it 10-7 and Lorenzen came on to give up two more on two hits and a walk, one run scoring on a wild pitch.
TUCKER BARNHART HOMERED LEADING off the seventh to make it 11-9 — and it proved to be the game-winner. Then it was up to the bullpen to clean up the mess and that, too, was dicey.
Wandy Peralta pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, the first 1-2-3 inning for either team.
Raisel Iglesias took over in the eighth and loaded the bases with two outs before striking out pinch-hitter Jesus Aguillar on three pitches
IGLESIAS STRUCK OUT HERNAN Perez on three pitches to open the ninth. Jonathan Villar homered to left field and it was 11-10.
Eric Thames singled to center and with one out the Brewers had the potential tying run on first and the winning run at the plate in Ryan Braun. Braun hit a high pop foul to third baseman Eugenio Suarez and Iglesias struck out Travis Shaw on three pitches to end it.
It was the sixth two-inning save for Iglesias this year and his 20th save in 21 opportunities, but it was a breath-holder for the Reds.
WHAT DID THE REDS DO offensively, especially in the early going. Where to start?
Well, it started with the second batter of the game, a home run by Zack Cozart. That 1-0 lead stood only until Brewers catcher Manny Pina hit a two-run home run in the second off Bailey for a two-run Milwaukee lead.
Then came the nine runs in two innings by the Reds for the 10-2 lead.
Billy Hamilton had a hit and two walks — the first time this season he walked twice in a game. And he stole three bases and now has 48.
Joey Votto reached base four times with three hits and a single that stretched his hitting streak to 16. He also has been on base two or more times in 16 straight games, four shy of the 20 times it was done by Barry Bonds.
Eugenio Suarez reached base five straight times with three singles and two walks.
SCOOTER GENNETT HAD ONLY one hit against his former teammate, but it was a bloop hit to right field that drove in two runs during his team’s six-run fourth inning.
Jesse Winker had two hits and drove in two with a bloop opposite field double to left in that six-run fourth.
Tucker Barnhart had two hits, including the ultra-important home run in the eighth.
The Reds have won four of their last five and three straight while the swooning Brewers have lost six straight.
The game last nearly four hours. There were 21 runs, 31 hits (16 for the Reds, 15 for the Brewers), there were 15 walks (eight for the Brewers, seven for the Reds) and the Brewers made a couple of errors.
The Reds were 8 for 14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11. The Brewers were 4 for 12 with runners in scoring position and left 12 on base.