Votto cracks milestone home run, but Cardinals pummel Reds

Despite cloudy skies over Great American Ball Park, the Reds game Sunday against St. Louis started brightly with Joey Votto’s milestone home run.

Homer Bailey quickly dulled the luster of the All-Star first baseman’s exploit. The Cardinals rocked the roller-coaster right-hander, in his ninth start since coming off the disabled list, for six runs in their nine-run third inning on their way to a 13-4 win.

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Bailey set a single-game career-high for runs allowed with 10, helping the Reds to a second straight loss after winning Friday’s opener. The Reds, who swept the Cardinals in a four-game Cincinnati series in June, are 6-17 overall since the All-Star break.

St. Louis knocked Bailey (3-6) out in the fourth, scoring six runs on four walks and four hits, including Jose Martinez’s opposite-field grand slam to right. The grand-slam was the seventh allowed by Reds pitchers this season

Bailey, who allowed four hits and one run in six innings of his previous start at Pittsburgh on Tuesday, gave up 10 hits and four walks with three strikeouts.

“It was a little bit of everything,” said Bailey, who didn’t pitch until June 24 after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in February to remove bone spurs from his right elbow. “I didn’t have any command. It was one of those days where I just didn’t have it.

“I had a lot of misses. Some were close misses. It was just one of those days where I didn’t perform and I cost the team the game.”

Manager Bryan Price didn’t want to trace Bailey’s inconsistency to still shaking off rust.

“You’d hate to say that,” Price said. “You’d hate to concede that that is going to happen. He’s been divided. He’s had some games where he’s been sharp and controlled innings, and he’s had some games where he’s given up some big innings, which is what happened today. Coming off of surgery, it wouldn’t be unusual to not be consistent, but I know he expects more from himself. He’s taken some lumps on days when he wasn’t that sharp.”

Before that start against the Pirates, the Yankees piled up 10 hits and seven runs – five earned – in six-plus innings against Bailey, one start after he allowed just eight hits and two runs in six innings against the Marlins.

The Cardinals added three runs against reliever Lisalverto Bonilla, adding up to nine runs, the most allowed by the Reds in one inning since the Rockies scored 10 on July 20, 2015, at Colorado.

Votto’s first-inning three-run homer, which barely cleared the right field wall, was his second in two games – both in the first inning – and 29th of the season, matching his 2016 total. It also was the 250th of his career, leaving him one short of tying Ted Kluszewski — who has a statue on Crosley Terrace, right outside Great American Ball Park’s main gate – for fifth place on the franchise career homer run list and his 135th at Great American, tying him with Jay Bruce for the ballpark’s career record.

Votto, who was 5-for-39 (.128) in his first 12 games after the All-Star break, extended his hitting streak to 11 games (16-33, .485), matching his longest of the season.

Price agreed before the game with the suggestion that, even though Votto is a five-time All-Star and was the 2010 National League Most Valuable Player, the first baseman might not get the recognition deserved by a player of his stature.

“There’s nobody in the Cincinnati area that isn’t fully aware of what he’s done over the course of his career, but, you need to be more of a front-and-center team,” Price said. “He’s not getting the exposure when we’re not winning enough. A winning Reds team would draw more well-deserved attention to him. The things he does he does as well as anyone else in the game.”

The Reds loaded the bases with nobody out after Votto’s homer, but couldn’t capitalize. The Cardinals rallied for four runs in the second as the first five batters reached base, four with doubles and three on consecutive pitches.

Eugenio Suarez added a solo homer off the batter’s eye with one out in the eighth inning.

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