Bailey looks to build on strong outing against Brewers

Matt Garza went 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA in six starts last month, but is 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in three career outings in Cincinnati.

Gene J. Puskar/Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The Milwaukee Brewers may own the best record in the NL, but the Cincinnati Reds hold the upper hand in the season series.

Another dazzling performance from Homer Bailey could see that success continue.

After carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his last outing, Bailey goes for a sixth straight win at home as the Reds try to send the Brewers to their longest slide of the season Saturday.

Cincinnati (44-41) has won six of eight against Central-leading Milwaukee (51-36) this year, including four of five at home behind a 2.35 ERA.

Alfredo Simon turned in the latest strong performance, allowing two runs in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-2 win over the Brewers on Friday in the opener of this three-game set.

Now, Bailey (8-4, 4.39 ERA) attempts to build on his three-hitter from Sunday after his attempt at a third career no-hitter fell short in a 4-0 victory at San Francisco.

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"He pitched efficiently and we played great defense," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "When the outs are coming so early in the count, he has a chance."

Since struggling in his first two home starts of the season, Bailey has gone 5-0 with a 2.80 ERA in his last five in Cincinnati. He’ll try to become the first Red to win six straight starts at home since Johnny Cueto from June 6-Aug. 18, 2012.

Bailey’s current run at Great American Ball Park began May 1, when he limited Milwaukee to three runs over eight innings in an 8-3 victory.

He also faced the Brewers on the road June 13 but left without a decision after allowing four runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-5 win.

Billy Hamilton, the NL Rookie of the Month for June, had a two-run homer in the series opener, and he’s 12 for 35 (.343) over his past eight games.

"It is not just the home runs. It is the evolution of the player that is impressive," Price said. "He’s done a lot of things we didn’t know that he was able to do this soon in his career."

The Brewers matched a season high with their fourth consecutive loss Friday, totaling 11 runs and batting .169 during that skid.

Carlos Gomez is 1 for 11 in his last three games after going 0 for 4 Friday. He has a .136 average in his last 12 games at Cincinnati, and he’s 4 for 25 in his career versus Bailey.

Those offensive issues aren’t common for Matt Garza (5-5, 4.10), who gets an average of 4.93 runs of support.

The right-hander got plenty of help in last Saturday’s 7-4 win over Colorado. He allowed four runs in 6 2-3 innings after tossing five scoreless while the Brewers built a six-run lead for him.

"I’ve never played with an offense as good as this," Garza said. "When I played with Tampa, we were lucky to scratch out what we could. Chicago, you know the story there. You just keep going. It’s a different type of mindset. When you get runs this quick, you have to keep attacking."

He went 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA in six starts last month, but is 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in three career outings in Cincinnati.