PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels is a Phillies left-handed pitcher, but as far as the Reds are concerned, Hamels might as well be the supreme ruler of pitching and mound affairs.
Hamels has never lost to the Reds and the Phillies have never lost a game that Hamels started against the Reds. Therefore, it was extra paramount for Homer Bailey to give Cincinnati a strong performance to have a good chance on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Alas, that did not happen. Bailey was blistered for six runs in the bottom of the fourth as the Reds were roughed up by Hamels and the Phillies by a 12-1 score.
"Tough one, for sure," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "A couple of big innings. Homer wasn't real sharp. He made some mistakes. He didn't have his good fastball command today."
Including the postseason, Hamels is 9-0 with a 1.49 ERA in 12 lifetime starts vs. the Reds. The Phillies are 12-0 in those games. On Saturday, Hamels also earned his 100th career win overall.
"I guess it's good karma," Hamels said.
Bailey lasted 3 2/3 innings while throwing 92 pitches and allowed six earned runs and seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts. It was his shortest outing since he went 3 2/3 innings on May 30, 2013.
"Even the balls that we threw for strikes were a little bit up, a few inches up. Those balls get hit a lot and find bats," Bailey said.
Signed to a six-year, $105 million contract in February, Bailey has often struggled this season. Through nine starts, he is 3-3 with a 5.44 ERA. He has given up five or more earned runs in three of those starts and four or more in five starts. He's pitched more than six innings in only two of his starts and his 31 earned runs are tied for third in the National League.
Bailey was coming off of one of his best outings this season, allowing one run on four hits over 7 1/3 innings to beat the Rockies. Now he'll be searching again, first for traction, and then momentum.
"I've been here before," Bailey said. "I think at any time, you can get into a groove and take off and then completely forget about the first month and a half. I've done that numerous times. You have to keep working and keep your focus where it's at and be positive more than anything."
The Reds had Hamels in some trouble with one out in the first inning after a Zack Cozart double, Brandon Phillips walk and Todd Frazier infield hit loaded the bases. Only one run scored when second baseman Chase Utley flubbed a Ryan Ludwick grounder. Instead of a double play, it went for an RBI forceout at second base.
After that, Hamels retired the next 19 of 21 batters and his final 10 in a row. That included the third inning, when he struck out the side with only nine pitches.
It hadn't been a good season for Hamels, who entered the night 0-2 with a 5.32 ERA. Still, the Reds did not notch another hit after Neftali Soto's two-out single in the fourth inning.
"He's good. I know he's not off to a great start this year and he started on the DL. But he's back," Price said of Hamels. "That's what our scouting report said. He looks like the regular guy -- good velocity, both sides of the plate, all the accoutrements."
Since Devin Mesoraco's three-run homer in the first inning on Friday, Cincinnati has a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings. On Saturday, the lineup was missing Mesoraco, Brayan Pena and injured players Joey Votto and Jay Bruce.
Bailey gave up two singles to start his night, but worked out of the jam. Even after a 1-2-3 third inning, he was at 58 pitches. He threw 34 more in the fourth and didn't even finish the inning. The Phillies, who were shut out by the Reds on Friday, entered the fourth with a 23-inning scoreless streak before hitting paydirt.
Following a leadoff walk, Bailey gave up back-to-back doubles -- Marlon Byrd's roller down the left-field line and Cody Asche's two-run double to right field. Next was Domonic Brown, who tattooed a 3-0 pitch to the second deck in right field for a two-run homer. Brown later hit a three-run double in the seventh for a career-high five RBIs.
"A ground ball here, a ground ball there. Byrd's down the line -- one more foot and it's a double play and we're not even talking about the fourth probably," Bailey said. "Sometimes, it's just the way it goes, but you still have to make good pitches. A lot of those were not good pitches."
Bailey gave up two more hits in the fourth, including Carlos Ruiz's RBI single to right field that concluded his night. Logan Ondrusek took over and saw Utley plate an inherited runner with a RBI single to center field that made it a 6-1 game.
The last time the Reds pitching staff allowed a six-run inning was June 9, 2013, when the Cardinals scored seven runs in the top of the 10th.
The game got out of hand on Sean Marshall's watch during a five-run seventh. Marshall hit a batter and walked two to begin his appearance before Philadelphia cashed in some more while batting around for the second time in the game.
Following John Mayberry Jr.'s two-out RBI double, Sam LeCure had to finish the inning for Marshall, who has allowed seven earned runs over his last three appearances over three innings. His ERA jumped from 6.00 to 12.15 after Saturday. Price said that Marshall, who has battled shoulder injuries this season and last, was healthy.
"Look, is he 100 percent Sean Marshall? No. He's still trying to get all the way back to where he's strong and he's sharp," Price said. "He's not there yet."