The Cincinnati Reds made it back to .500–if you count 0-0 as .500–yesterday, but they didn’t make it look easy.
Homer Bailey struggled against the Chicago Cubs, needing 106 pitches to get through 5 innings. In many ways, he resembled the Bailey of old, with no control leading to 2 walks and 2 hit by pitches. Unlike the younger Bailey, this time, Homer battled through and never allowed a big inning. The Cubs scored only 3 runs off him.
After that, Micah Owings came in and pitched 3 scoreless innings, giving the Reds time to retake the lead, which they did in dramatic fashion. As I was pounding away my frustrations at DirecTV not providing the Reds HD on the elliptical machine, the Cubs bullpen imploded. Jonny Gomes and Ramon Hernandez walked to start the 8th. Chris Dickerson followed with a perfect bunt that allowed him to reach first safely. Then Drew Stubbs came to the plate and launched one into the Reds bullpen for the lead.
The Reds defense made it interesting in the 9th for Francisco Cordero, though. Cordero muffed one grounder that Brandon Phillips expertly scooped bare-handed and threw to Joey Votto for the out. A good thing, too, because Derek Lee hit the next one out, bringing the Cubs within one. Then errors by Scott Rolen and Paul Janish loaded the bases before Cordero closed things out for his first save.
It was a very ugly win for the Reds, and a loss that Cubs fans will be kicking themselves over for a while. Any day you have 11 hits, leave 13 men on base, and lose by one has to make you see red. Thankfully, this time, they’re seeing Cincinnati Red.
The series continues today with Carlos Zambrano going against Aaron Harang at 1:10pm EDT.