It would be hard to come up with two more disparate starts than Homer Bailey 's last two.
Bailey (5-7, 3.70 ERA) followed his no-hitter against San Francisco on July 2 by giving up a season-high 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings in Milwaukee on Monday. Despite surrendering 14 baserunners, he ultimately allowed just four runs in a 4-3 loss."He got out of some tough jams," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Bailey walked three, hit a batter and struck out three."It was just one of those days," he said. "Just never could find a rhythm."
Bailey also wasn't in rhythm in his lone start of the season against the Braves on May 7, when he gave up four runs, five hits and a season-high four walks in five innings of a 5-4 loss, but didn't get the decision. He was 2-0 with a 2.41 ERA in his first three starts versus Atlanta (53-40).
Bailey has held many of Atlanta's leading hitters in check, including Dan Uggla (3 for 15), Chris Johnson (0 for 9 with five strikeouts), Freddie Freeman (2 for 8), Brian McCann (1 for 7) and Tyler Pastornicky (1 for 5).
Pastornicky, usually a backup outfielder, will likely play Saturday as Atlanta contends with an injury-plagued outfield. B.J. Upton strained his right adductor muscle and Justin Upton strained his left calf Friday, joining Jason Heyward (strained right hamstring), Jordan Schafer (right ankle) and Evan Gattis (oblique) on the bench."There must be something in the water," B.J. Upton said.
Schafer is the only one currently expected to miss a lot of time, but it still creates a dilemma for manager Fredi Gonzalez."We're talking through it right now," Gonzalez said. "We've got three guys banged up."
Atlanta's outfield issues are the last thing Mike Minor (8-4, 3.05) needs. He has received 13 runs of support over his last five starts.
Minor, who last recorded a win June 9, had been scuffling with a 5.63 ERA in four starts leading into his Monday outing against Miami. He allowed one run in 6 1-3 innings, but failed to record a decision in the Braves' eventual 7-1 victory.
The left-hander, who held Cincinnati (52-41) to one run over seven innings in a 7-2 victory May 8, can't be looking forward to seeing Zack Cozart . The Reds shortstop has two home runs off Minor in seven at-bats, including one in May.
Overall, the Reds lineup has perked up. After plating four runs over a three-game skid, they have scored 15 while winning two of three.
Shin-Soo Choo, who went 3 for 13 during the Reds' losing streak, is 7 for his last 13 with two doubles. Brandon Phillips , who was 3 for his previous 23, is 5 for 13 over the Reds' last three games. Jay Bruce rebounded from a 1-for-10 slump with a 4-for-10 output over his last three games, though he hasn't homered since he hit five from June 19 through June 22.
|July 10, 2013||Ryan Hanigan||15-Day DL||Sprained left wrist|
|June 29, 2013||Johnny Cueto||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|June 28, 2013||Johnny Cueto||Day-to-Day||Left game - tight right lat|
|June 14, 2013||Jonathan Broxton||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor mass strain|
|June 01, 2013||Johnny Cueto||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|June 01, 2013||Johnny Cueto||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|July 11, 2013||Jason Heyward||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right hamstring|
|July 04, 2013||Jordan Schafer||15-Day DL||Right ankle contusion|
|July 02, 2013||B.J. Upton||Day-to-Day||Left game - left forearm spasms|
|June 18, 2013||Evan Gattis||15-Day DL||Oblique strain|
|June 17, 2013||Ramiro Pena||15-Day DL||Right shoulder impingement|
|May 29, 2013||Kris Medlen||Day-to-Day||Left game - left upper calf contusion|
ATLANTA (AP) -- Mike Minor took advantage of support from unexpected sources - a combined seven hits by three fill-in outfielders and, in an even bigger surprise, his own two-run double.
Minor struggled early before recovering to throw seven strong innings, and also hit a go-ahead double that led the Atlanta Braves over Homer Bailey and the Cincinnati Reds 5-2 Saturday.
The Braves, who lost starting outfielders Jason Heyward , B.J. Upton and Justin Upton to injuries in the first two games of the series, found success with their fill-ins. Jose Constanza , recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett, started in left field and hit leadoff with Reed Johnson in center and rookie Joey Terdoslavich in right.
The patchwork outfield combined for seven hits, including three by Constanza.
"I feel bad for them to be hurt," Constanza said through a translator. "It's a bad way to be called up, but I was ready to come up here and help the team win."
Brian McCann and Dan Uggla hit home runs, but the second-string outfielders stole the show.
"I think Vegas lost a lot of money today when they saw our lineup," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "But you know what, you can't judge and you can't handicap heart."
Minor's two-run double in the fifth inning gave Atlanta a 3-2 lead and provided the pitcher a rare opportunity to brag about his batting skills, even though he was hitting only .086 before the at-bat.
"Oh yeah, every time I go up there I think I'm going to hit the ball," Minor said with a slight smile.
"No, actually I thought it was a fastball and it was a slider."
Minor (9-4) snapped a streak of five straight starts without a win. The left-hander allowed two runs on six hits and one walk - including only one hit in his last five innings.
Minor's two-run double in the fifth gave the Braves a 3-2 lead.
Bailey (5-8) lost his second straight start since throwing his second career no-hitter on July 2. He faded after being given an early 2-0 lead, allowing four runs on 10 hits in six innings.
Bailey said he was hurt by infield singles and ground balls, including Minor's double, that skipped down the line.
"It was just one of those days," Bailey said. "It just seems like I've had a lot of one-of-those days."
Minor appeared headed toward a short outing when he threw 51 pitches in the first two innings. He gave up singles to Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto and walked Brandon Phillips to load the bases with one out in the first. Minor escaped by striking out Jay Bruce and ending the inning on Todd Frazier 's liner to third base.
"It's disheartening to see it happening over and over again," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of the wasted scoring opportunity. "(Minor) wasn't sharp. We had him on the ropes and then we came out with nothing. His pitch count was high, then he settled down in the middle innings and was extremely tough on us."
The Reds took a 2-0 lead in the second. Zack Cozart tripled, Chris Heisey doubled and Choo hit an RBI single.
Minor then recorded 11 consecutive outs, providing his teammates an opportunity to rally.
After McCann's 12th homer in the fourth, the Braves took the lead with two runs in the fifth. Johnson singled, Terdoslavich hit his first career double and Minor followed with a sharp grounder down the left-field line that drove in both runners.
Constanza hit an RBI single in the sixth. Uggla hit his 17th homer off Alfredo Simon in the seventh.
Braves reliever Luis Avilan walked Votto and gave up a single to Phillips with two outs in the eighth. Bruce ended the inning with a fly ball.
Craig Kimbrel struck out Frazier, Cozart and pinch-hitter Xavier Paul in the ninth for his 26th save.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said before the game he is confident Heyward can recover from his strained right hamstring by resting through the All-Star break. Gonzalez said the "trickiest" injury is Justin Upton 's left calf strain. He said calf injuries can be nagging.
B.J. Upton, who has strained right adductor (upper leg, inside), said he felt "a little better" Saturday but couldn't predict if he expects to be ready after the All-Star break.
The Braves plan to delay decisions on possibly placing the Upton brothers on the disabled list until after the break.
NOTES: Minor earned his first win since June 9 at Dodger Stadium. ... Choo has an 11-game hitting streak. ... The Braves optioned LHP Alex Wood to Triple-A Gwinnett. He is expected to be recalled after the All-Star break. ... The Reds had been 4-0 in Bailey's first four starts against the Braves, including a 5-4 win on May 7. ... The four-game series ends Sunday when Reds rookie LHP Tony Cingrani faces RHP Julio Teheran .