CINCINNATI (AP) - Homer Bailey's best wasn't quite good enough.
Bailey had a season-high nine strikeouts, but one hanging curveball did him in on Monday night. Shane Victorino hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning, sending the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-2 victory that ended the Cincinnati Reds' winning streak at four games.
``Homer threw the ball great,' manager Dusty Baker said. ``That's the best game he's thrown all year. That one curveball he hung to Victorino - it hung over the middle of the plate, and that's what you're supposed to do with them.'
The first-pitch homer turned a game between two stingy starters.
Left-hander Cole Hamels was solid for six innings of his return from the disabled list. He held the Reds to two hits - one a misplayed fly ball - in six innings, a good showing for a pitcher coming back from an inflamed shoulder.
``When you're playing a team that has the pitching that they have, they're accustomed to playing low-scoring, close games, and one pitch can be the difference,' Baker said.
Antonio Bastardo (6-0) fanned three in his one inning of relief. Dave Sappelt's infield single drove in a run in the eighth, cutting it to 3-2. Ryan Madson gave up a hit in the ninth before finishing it off for his 24th save in 26 chances.
Hamels made his first start since Aug. 12 expecting good results. He got them against a team he has dominated throughout his career.
Hamels fanned seven without walking a batter, throwing 50 strikes out of 76 pitches before leaving with the score tied at 1. He remained 8-0 in his career against the Reds, including a shutout at Great American Ball Park that completed the Phillies' playoff sweep last season.
Bailey made one bad pitch out of 100 and it cost him the game.
Bailey fanned Victorino on a breaking ball with two runners aboard in the fifth. Bailey started him with another curve in the eighth, and Victorino - batting .344 in the seventh inning or later - was ready.
``We struck him out on a curveball before,' Bailey said. ``We thought he'd be looking for a fastball in. We tried to get ahead with a curveball. I guess great minds think alike, but he hit it out.'
Misplays in the outfield set up the first two runs.
Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to 12 games - longest by a Red this season - when Hunter Pence slipped on the warning track while trying to catch his fly ball. Pence's feet went out from under him, allowing the ball to drop just out of his reach for a triple. Phillips scored on Joey Votto's groundout.
Sappelt had a bad moment in left field in the fifth. He initially broke back on Wilson Valdez's line drive, then came in, dived and missed the ball, letting it skip past him for an RBI double that tied it at 1.
The game marked Yonder Alonso's professional debut at third base for the Reds, who are trying to find a position for their former first-round draft pick. Alonso didn't get any balls hit his way. He grounded out and struck out three times, including in the ninth against Madson.
``We didn't get the win and I didn't do a good job of hitting,' Alonso said. ``I missed about three or four pitches today. That's what you get when you're facing guys like this. They give you maybe one. Maybe.'
Notes: The Phillies have gone 33 road games without consecutive losses, the best such streak in club history. ... Manager Charlie Manuel sees one area the Phillies could improve through trade. ``We could definitely use some players on our bench,' he said. ``We've been short.' Teams must complete trades by the end of August for the player to be eligible for the postseason. ... RHP Roy Halladay starts the second game of the series against Cincinnati, the team he no-hit during the playoffs last season. The Reds go with RHP Bronson Arroyo, who is 1-6 career against the Phillies with a 7.13 ERA.
The Associated Press News Service
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