CINCINNATI (AP) - The Astros lost another series and their closer - not a good way to leave town.
Homer Bailey returned from the disabled list with six strong innings Thursday, and Ryan Hanigan drove in three runs with a three-hit game, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 10-4 victory over Houston.
Bailey (1-0) developed a shoulder problem during spring training, forcing him to go on a throwing program. The right-hander gave up only four hits and one run in six innings, striking out seven - an encouraging return for the defending NL Central champs.
``He definitely had good stuff,' said the Astros' Brett Wallace, who was 0 for 4. ``He was pretty effective at mixing it up. He kept us off-balance, and he attacked late in the count.'
The Reds scored six runs in 5 2-3 innings against Brett Myers (1-2), who failed to go six innings for only the second time in 40 career starts with the Astros. Myers also left after 5 2-3 innings of a 9-1 loss in Cincinnati last Sept. 30.
Fred Lewis hit his first career pinch-hit homer in the sixth for a 6-1 lead, ending Myers' outing. The six runs were a season-high off the right-hander.
``I made some good pitches, but they hit them,' Myers said. ``I didn't feel real comfortable out there. I felt like everything I threw, they knew what was coming. They probably didn't, but it felt that way. ... I just have to concentrate a little more on making quality pitches instead of just throwing stuff.'
The Astros rallied in the seventh against left-hander Aroldis Chapman, who walked a batter with the bases loaded and gave up Hunter Pence's two-run single that cut it to 6-4. Jay Bruce homered during the Reds' four-run eighth off Nelson Figueroa, who was demoted to the bullpen last week.
``It got a little tough for him,' Houston manager Brad Mills said. ``We hope that's just a hiccup and he'll be able to move on.'
The Astros played all three games without outfielder Carlos Lee, who bruised ribs on Sunday in a collision with shortstop Angel Sanchez. He worked out Thursday and could be back soon.
Before the game, the Astros sent closer Brandon Lyon back to Houston for tests on his right shoulder, which has a cyst. Lyon failed to retire any of the five batters he faced during a 3-2 loss on Wednesday, his fourth blown save in eight chances.
An MRI found tendinitis in his biceps and a partial tear in his rotator cuff, which can heal without surgery. He went on the 15-day disabled list.
Right-hander Mark Melancon will move into the closer's role for now. He leads the majors with 18 appearances and has pitched well, going 2-1 with a 1.72 ERA. The Astros got him from the Yankees last July 31 as part of the deal for Lance Berkman.
Melancon saved 15 games in the minors throughout his career but doesn't have a save in the majors. He blew his only opportunity earlier this season.
Bailey got a chance to return on Thursday after the opening game of the series was rained out, forcing the teams to make it up on what was supposed to be their day off. Originally, Bailey was scheduled to complete his rehab assignment at Class-A Dayton on Thursday. The schedule change allowed him to pitch for the Reds instead of the Dragons.
Joey Votto opened the fourth with a single off Myers, keeping him the only major leaguer to reach base safely in every game this season.
His 31-game streak is three shy of Dave Collins' franchise mark from 1981. The Reds went on to load the bases, and Hanigan singled for a 3-0 lead.
NOTES: Pence extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games. ... 2B Bill Hall was ejected by plate umpire Tom Hallion after he struck out in the sixth and said something while walking away. ... Astros minor league OF/1B Telvin Nash will have surgery next week on a broken hamate bone in his left hand, sidelining him for six weeks. The third-round draft pick in 2009 is playing at Class-A Lexington. ... The Reds optioned RHP reliever Jordan Smith to Triple-A Louisville to open a roster spot for Bailey.
The Associated Press News Service
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