By HAL McCOY
Maybe somebody with the Cincinnati Reds should tell Homer Bailey it is the second inning when he takes the mound to start a game.
Throughout his career, the first inning has been the unkindest cut for the lanky Texan. Bailey’s career earned run average in the first inning hovers about 8.00.
And it has continued this spring as Bailey tried to come back from three seasons of injuries and three surgeries.
Bailey started for the Reds Monday afternoon in Tempe, Ariz. against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, a 4-3 loss.
The second pitch Bailey threw landed over the left field wall in the corner, a home run by Ian Kinsler. He then walked Mike Trout and gave up a run-scoring double to the left field corner by Albert Pujols.
Bailey pitched a 1-2-3 second and the Reds came back to tie it, 2-2, in the third.
But Bailey gave up two more runs in third, although the hits were dubious and unfortunate for Bailey.
Kinsler blooped a single to right and Trout blooped a single to left and it appeared both balls were catchable.
Justin Upton grounded to third and Nick Senzel threw to first. But first baseman Joey Votto, seeing Kinsler break for home from third base, came off the first base bag and threw home. But Kinsler beat the throw to score.
Bailey threw a wild pitch that sent Trout to third and he scored on a ground ball to third by Pujols.
That made it 4-2 and it was all the runs the Angels would score as Bailey pitched four innings and gave up four runs and six hits.
After Bailey, Amir Garrett, bidding for a spot in the rotation, pitched two scoreless innings. He gave up a two-out double in the fifth to Pujols and a leadoff single in the sixth to former Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, but retired the final three.
Left hander Cody Reed, hopeful of landing a bullpen spot, was the most impressive with two scoreless innings. He gave up one, but walked none and struck out three.
The Reds had several opportunities against Angels starter Garrett Richards. He walked five during his 3 2/3 innings, but only two scored.
He walked the first two in the third inning one scored on Nick Senzel’s single and the other on Adam Duvall’s sacrifice fly. Richards walked a third batter in the inning but Mason Williams flied out with two on.
After Richards departed, the Reds faced two former teammates. The first was left hander John Lamb, he of the long, flowing blond hair. He was 2-and-12 during his two seasons with the Reds. On Monday he pitched two innings and issued a walk and nothing else.
He was followed by Blake Wood, a member of the Reds bullpen last year, and the Reds scored a run off him in the seventh.
Billy Hamilton opened the inning with a bunt single, his second hit this spring (2 for 23). Hamilton, though, was thrown out trying to steal second. With two outs, Patrick Kivlehan doubled and scored on Alex Blandino’s single to pull the Reds within 4-3.
Not long ago, Reds manager Bryan Price was critical of his team’s lack of offensive execution. On Monday, they executed themselves.
With two outs in the ninth, Kivlehan drew a walk and represented the potential tying run. But he was picked off first base to end the game.