Reds fall to end seven-game streak
Bullpen unable to seal the deal after Bailey's exit
DENVER -- Homer Bailey was gone from Monday's start longer than he wanted to be. He was not on the mound when three late runs crossed in the Reds' 4-3 loss to the Rockies that ended a seven-game winning streak.But if blame was to be served for Labor Day dinner, Bailey was willing to go up for seconds. Although he had a decent 5 2/3-inning performance for a no-decision, he walked five batters and threw 117 pitches. "I think it was one of those games where there were a lot of ifs," said Bailey, who allowed one run and five hits with six strikeouts. "I have to take the blame for a lot of them because of my pitch count. Walking five guys and also throwing that last one away [for an error in the sixth] was unacceptable." The Reds still had a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh when reliever Arthur Rhodes gave up two runs on some tough plays for his second blown save of the season. It started when pinch-hitter Eric Young Jr. squibbed a slow roller to second base for an infield hit before Rhodes walked the next batter, Carlos Gonzalez. After a sacrifice moved the runners, Todd Helton hit a sacrifice fly to left field. Troy Tulowitzki drove in the tying run with an RBI single to right field that was just out of reach for second baseman Brandon Phillips. There was nothing cheap about the way the go-ahead run scored. In the eighth against freshly recalled reliever Carlos Fisher, Ian Stewart smoked a 1-0 pitch for a home run to right field. Colorado, which leads the National League Wild Card race, has been almost as hot as Cincinnati. It's won six of its past seven games. "I've been in this situation before, going against a team in a playoff race," said left fielder Jonny Gomes. "They're going to make some tough outs. We have to step our game up to match their intensity." The Reds scored all three of their runs in the top of the fourth, all with two outs against Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez. Scott Rolen hit an RBI single to right field that scored Paul Janish before Gomes slugged a two-run homer to left field -- his 18th of the season -- to make it a 3-1 game. After that, everything dried up offensively for the Reds. "You have to get a lead and keep padding that lead. No lead is safe here," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. There was a final rally in the ninth against reliever Franklin Morales when the Reds had runners on first and second with no outs. On a double-steal attempt, Phillips took third base but trail runner Scott Rolen was nailed at second base by catcher Chris Iannetta. Gomes flied out and Darnell McDonald struck out to end the game. "It wasn't a steal sign," Baker said. "Brandon has a green light and Scotty had a big lead and was following Brandon. [The Rockies] got the trail runner, which was astute on their part. Then they closed out the game. We thought we had Morales on the ropes." The Reds can still be encouraged by the recent run by Bailey, who is unbeaten over his last four starts. He is 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in that stretch. On Monday, he was still registering 96- and 97-mph fastballs during his final two batters. "It's a matter of confidence," Baker said. "His confidence is high. His velocity is up. He's maintaining velocity throughout the game. He can make some pitches when he has to when he's in trouble." One of those situations came in the Rockies' fourth, when Bailey walked his first two batters and loaded the bases with a two-out walk. He was able to escape without a run scoring. But it came at a price -- 25 pitches. "It did cost me a lot of pitches," Bailey agreed. "That was a big thing. Early on, I was very aggressive and I should have kept that up a little bit more. Three walks with I don't know how many full counts and foul balls. Those start adding up really quick. It should have been a game where I had gone seven innings. Because of the walks and high pitch count, I wasn't able to." In the sixth, Bailey walked the leadoff batter and on a two-out infield hit by Iannetta, made an errant throw to first base that put runners on the corners. Nick Masset, normally a seventh- or eighth-inning reliever, took over for Bailey. Masset threw a pitch in the dirt to pinch-hitter Garrett Atkins that got away, but Masset covered the plate when catcher Corky Miller threw out Brad Hawpe trying to score. "That was big, because I could have saved Masset for later," Baker said. "But I had to get out of that jam in that situation."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.