HOUSTON -- Homer Bailey had made seven trips to Houston in his career with the Cincinnati Reds before this week and never got to pitch in his home state.
He finally got his chance on Tuesday night and the 25-year-old made the most of it.Bailey allowed five hits over seven scoreless innings, Jay Bruce had a two-run homer and Joey Votto drove in three runs and the Reds beat the Houston Astros 7-3.Bailey (2-0) made his 2011 debut last week against the Astros and struck out five with no walks on Tuesday to get his second win of the year.Bailey, who started the season on the disabled list with tightness in his pitching shoulder, has not played on the road against the Astros. He grew up and still makes his offseason home in La Grange, Texas, about 100 miles from Minute Maid Park.It had become a joke in his family that he never got to pitch in Houston."I've got all my family and friends waiting for me and to be able to pitch in front of them at this stadium is beyond me," he said of the 40 friends and family who came to the park on Tuesday night. "I've missed it every single time before."Votto had doubles in both the first and second innings to drive in his runs and Bruce connected on his homer off Houston starter Brett Myers in the first inning.Myers (1-3) tied season highs by allowing 10 hits and six runs in six innings in his third straight loss. All of Cincinnati's runs off Myers came in the first two innings and seven of the hits he allowed came in that span."I felt that I was throwing too many breaking pitches," Myers said. "I was pitching all those guys like they were Babe Ruth or something like that the first two innings, instead of trusting my stuff and going right after them."Bailey didn't allow a hit until giving up a single to Myers with two outs in the third inning. Houston's next hit didn't come until Brett Wallace singled with no outs in the fifth, but Bailey retired the next three batters to get out of the inning.Bailey allowed a single to Joe Inglett in the sixth, but faced the minimum in that inning thanks to a double play. The Astros got consecutive singles with one out in the seventh before Bailey retired Bill Hall and Chris Johnson to send it to the eighth."He had his breaking ball working and a real good split finger and he threw the ball well," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Bailey. "In his second outing, he went as far as we thought he should go. He went a few more pitches than he went last time. Slowly but surely, while he's winning he's building his endurance and building his confidence."Bailey said he's still a bit rusty after coming off the disabled list, but that he's feeling better each day."With the team that we have it just builds so much confidence in me knowing that your bullpen is always backing you up, to have the run support and also the great defense we have," Bailey said. "It doesn't matter where we're at, I always feel comfortable with those guys."He was happy with his performance on the mound but may have been more excited about the single he hit in the second inning, his first of the year."The hit was the biggest thing," he said with a huge grin.He was replaced by Aroldis Chapman, who walked three of the four batters he faced and hit the other one to force home a run and make it 7-1.Hunter Pence followed with a single off Nick Masset that drove in two runs to get Houston within 7-3. That hit extended Pence's hitting streak to a National League-best 14 games.Masset retired the next three Astros, striking out two of them, to limit the damage.Myers, who walked a season-high four, walked the first two batters he faced before an RBI double by Votto made it 1-0. Edgar Renteria made it 2-0 when he scored on a groundout by Brandon Phillips.Bruce's homer, which landed in the second deck in right field, came with one out in the first inning and scored Votto to make it 4-0.Myers struck out Jonny Gomes before allowing a single to Miguel Cairo, who finished with three of Cincinnati's 15 hits. Myers finally got out of the inning when he struck out Ryan Hanigan.Votto's second double drove in two and pushed the lead to 6-0 in the second inning.Cairo doubled to start the third inning, but Myers settled down after that and retired the next seven batters. He gave up a pair of singles in the fifth and intentionally walked Hanigan, but Bailey's pop fly ended the inning.Myers, who finished with eight strikeouts, walked one in a hitless sixth before he was replaced by Sergio Escalona for the seventh."For the last four innings I think I started throwing a lot more fastballs and trying to make them hit it, and it worked out for me ... but the first two innings I'm definitely not happy about how it went down," Myers said.
Baker hopes that SS Paul Janish can play on Wednesday, but isn't sure if he'll be able to. Janish hasn't played since spraining his right ankle Friday at Chicago. ... Houston INF Jeff Keppinger, who has been on the disabled list all season with a foot injury, could begin a rehabilitation assignment as early as Thursday.