“It seemed like everything they hit in the air went out of the park,” said Bailey, who came into the game with an ERA of 43.20 and left with it at 27.00
“Just not quite as sharp, but a little bit better than last time, which is not really hard to do,” he added. “It’s just kind of a process. It’s not the first time I’ve had two bad games in a row, so we’ll just keep going until it kind of sharpens up.”
Braun's homer was his 24th at Great American Ball Park, moving him past former Houston Astros slugger Lance Berkman for the most by an opponent. The Villar shot led off a four-run third inning that ended Bailey's night.
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“He’s getting his sea legs under him,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “It’s really been all of about three years since he’s pitched regularly in a major-league rotation. I think his stuff is plenty good enough. He’s throwing strikes. The quality of the location isn’t great.
“The really true snap on the slider, breaking ball and split hasn’t been as good as we’ve seen in the past,” Price continued. “But we’re also talking about a guy who would be making his early season starts right now. It’s a challenge. He’s just got to get himself back into the mix. Certainly Homer is a better pitcher than that.”
As short as it was, Bailey’s night actually lasted longer than that of Price, who was ejected in the top of the third when he continued arguing with home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth after losing a replay challenge.
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Price thought Jesus Aguilar’s double to right had gotten lodged under the fence, which would have made it a ground-rule double and prevented Domingo Santana from scoring. The run upped the Milwaukee lead to 4-0, and Hernan Perez and Pina added RBI singles for a 6-0 cushion.
“They got the call right,” Price said.
And the Brewers didn’t stop hitting after Bailey left, adding another four runs in the fourth off reliever Kevin Shackelford. Villar hit his second solo shot of the game, and Aguilar launched a three-run blast to make it 10-0.
Santana added a solo shot in the eighth off Ariel Hernandez for the Brewers’ sixth homer, one shy of the GABP team record shared by the Reds (three times) and Dodgers.
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Joey Votto added solo home runs in the fourth and seventh innings to account for two of the three Reds runs. The blasts upped Votto’s season total to 23, one shy of Los Angeles’ Cody Bellinger for the National League lead. It’s also the most home runs Votto has ever had before the All-Star break.
“If you remember, it was starting about this time last year that he was on base at a ridiculous pace and his batting average went from the low 200s, 220 to well up over 300, and then all the damage started to come,” Price said. “I’ve had the good fortune of seeing him really, really good. However, I have not seen this type of power display, the consistency of barrel on ball for power since I’ve been here.”
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It was the 13th multi-homer game of Votto’s career and first this year.
The eight combined homers are tied for the third most in GABP history. The Pirates (six) and Reds (four) hit 10 in 2014, and the Rockies (five) and Reds (four) blasted nine in 2012.
Thursday’s win enabled the division-leading Brewers to avoid a series sweep and maintain their one-game lead on the Chicago Cubs, who begin a three-game series against the Reds at GABP on Friday.