By HAL McCOY
And the beat goes on — or more succinctly, the beatdown of Homer Bailey goes on.
For the 19th time in Bailey’s 20 starts this season, the Cincinnati Reds lost, this time by 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
For the third straight game in PNC Park, the Reds ran into a starting pitcher they couldn’t solve.
Jameson Taillon muzzled the Reds on one run over five innings as the Pirates completed a three-game sweep and lead the season’s series 12-4.
For Tailon, it was the 18th time this season he has held the opposition to one run or less. And he wasn’t at his best.
The Reds collected eight hits but stranded nine runners in Taillon’s five innings. The only run they scored was a one-out home run by Jose Peraza in the first inning.
Like Cody Reed did Tuesday night, Bailey started the game by striking out Starling Marte on three pitches. Also like Reed, it was uphill after that.
The Pirates tied it, 1-1, in the second on a 3-and-2 single by Corey Dickerson and a 3-and-2 two-out double by Colin Moran. Dickerson put himself in scoring position before Moran’s hit by stealing second base without a throw when Bailey ignored him.
The Pirates scored two more in the third on four straight one-out singles by Starling Marte, Adam Frazier, Gregory Polanco and Francisco Cervelli.
That made it 3-1 after three and that’s the way it stayed and until the ninth when the Reds threatened against Pittsburgh closer Felipe Vasquez.
Curt Casali singled to open the inning and Blake Trahan ran for him. Pinch-hitter Dilson Herrera doubled to the left field corner, scoring Trahan to make it 3-2.
With the potential tying run on second base and no outs, Vasquez struck out Phillip Ervin and Billy Hamilton. He walked Jose Peraza, bringing up Joey Votto.
For his career, Votto was 0 for 6 with six strikeouts against Vasquez. Amazingly, he walked Votto on five pitches to load the bases and bring up Scooter Gennett.
Gennett was also 0 for 6 with five strikeouts. He didn’t strike out. On the first pitch he grounded back to the mound and Vasquez flipped the ball home for a game-ending force out, Vasquez’s 30th save.
The Reds had the bases loaded in the fifth inning but Taillon closed his night by striking out Scott Schebler.
Bailey, now 1-and-14 with a 6.09 earned run average, gave up three runs and six hits for his five innings.
While the Reds outhit by Pirates, 11-6, it was not a fun night for Eugenio Suarez. He struck out three times and Taillon hit him with a pitch, which riled Suarez. It was Taillon who hit Suarez with a pitch in April and broke Suarez’s hand, costing him 14 games.