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Bailey, Nicasio seek command in rubber match

May 11, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



REDS PRESS RELEASE

Reds right-handed starter Homer Bailey and Rockies righty starter Juan Nicasio, who will face each other Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of a three-game set at Great American Ball Park, were not spot-on with their command in their latest starts.

Bailey walked five, including one intentionally, over six innings and threw 110 pitches in a no-decision as the Reds fell to the Red Sox, 4-3, in 12 innings.

"They had some really good at-bats," Bailey said. "Of course, I was kind of all over the place, and they took advantage of it. I had several walks, which is kind of uncharacteristic of me. … It was just one of those games that I had to grind out."

Nicasio came out better.

He also walked five, against the Rangers. To his credit, he did not let that hurt him. Nicasio gave up just two hits and a run as the Rockies coasted to a 12-1 victory at Coors Field.

Nicasio has won his past two starts, going seven strong innings and driving in three runs in a 7-4 victory over the Mets on May 1.

It appears the key for Nicasio is getting through the sixth inning. Of his 62 career starts, Nicasio has pitched six or more innings 26 times. In those games, he is 14-2 with a 2.08 ERA, with wins in his past seven decisions of six or more innings.

Reds: Hamilton could return to lineup
Entering Sunday, Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton had not been in the starting lineup for eight days since he sprained two knuckles on his left hand on May 1 while making a diving catch. Hamilton had a pinch-hit double in the eighth inning Friday night during Cincinnati's win in the series opener, but manager Bryan Price was not ready to start him on Saturday.

"We're still evaluating there just to make sure he's 100 percent, 100 percent," Price said. "A funny thing Dusty [Baker] used to say was that when you feel like a guy is ready, you give him one more extra day. I think all things considered, one extra day in this case allows him to get more swings right-handed, which is the side that's given him more trouble. You can expect him to be in there [Sunday]. I think that's safe to say."

Over his previous 18 games, Hamilton is batting .340 (18-for-53) with nine stolen bases. He has appeared in three games since his latest start either for defense, pinch-hitting or pinch-running.

Rockies: Arenado is still streaking
It does not have the panache of a hit streak, but Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado still has an active run of success.

Arenado's hit streak ended at a club-record 28 games on Friday night, but he reached on a ninth-inning walk. Arenado doubled twice Saturday night to extend his streak for reaching base to 30 games.

Arenado's current run is tied for the second-longest streak in the Majors this season, behind the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista's 37-game run.

Worth noting
• Reds relievers have the lowest total innings pitched in the Major Leagues this season. The club's starters entered Saturday tied for the Major League lead.

• The Rockies' five home runs Saturday night were one shy of the record for an opponent at Great American Ball Park. The Rockies had six last June 5, and the Pirates have hit six twice -- last Sept. 28 and this past April 14.

• Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles, the winner after six effective innings Saturday night, joined the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka as the only Major League starting pitchers with 5-0 records.

• The Reds' left-handed hitting Joey Votto homered off Lyles in the second inning Saturday night. It was Votto's first home run of the season off a right-hander and his second RBI of the season off a righty.

• This week started with Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki being named National League Player of the Month for April/May and Player of the Week for last week. He is hitting .515 (17-for-33) since May 1. His performance Saturday included a bunt single -- the 10th of this career but first since 2009 for a player who has battled leg muscle issues -- and his 11th homer of the season.


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