It would be hard to come up with two more disparate starts than Homer Bailey's last two.
The right-hander will look to bounce back and lead the Cincinnati Reds to a second straight victory over a depleted Atlanta Braves squad on Saturday.
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.
The Associated Press News Service
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