Reds 7, White Sox 6
Homer Bailey's first spring training start helped his bid for a spot in Cincinnati's rotation.
The former first-round draft pick allowed only an infield single over two innings during the Reds' 7-6 victory against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. Bailey is one of at least three pitchers competing for the last two slots in the rotation behind Edinson Volquez, Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto.
''He's shown flashes of brilliance,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ''I think he's going to be a big winner.''
Shoulder inflammation cost Bailey a couple of months last season. He's eager to show that he's healthy and worthy of keeping a job with the NL Central champions.
''You're always trying to improve,'' Bailey said. ''I think we're all excited about starting the season. We know what it takes to make the playoffs. We feel like we have unfinished business.''
Chicago also got a solid performance from its starter, Edwin Jackson, who yielded two walks in two scoreless innings. Jackson threw a no-hitter for Arizona on June 25, but later struggled and was traded to the White Sox after putting up a 5.16 ERA and 6-10 record.
Jackson filled Jake Peavy's spot in the rotation after the former ace underwent season-ending surgery. Jackson allowed only three runs in his first four starts for Chicago and went 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA.
''I'm in a different role now,'' he said. ''In previous years, I had to fight for a position. Now I can throw strikes and get back into the groove of things.''
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was happy with the performance.
''He threw strikes and that's the main thing,'' Guillen said.
Fred Lewis singled home the first run of the game and Jeremy Hermida hit a two-run homer off Kyle Cofield in the Reds' five-run fifth. They're competing for a share of the job in left field.
Devin Mesoraco's solo homer in the eighth put the Reds ahead. Mesoraco, a 22-year-old catcher who was the club's top draft pick in June 2007, hit his first homer off Freddy Dolsi.
NOTES: Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez passed his test for U.S. citizenship. The Venezuelan will take the oath soon to make it official. ... The White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks will play a charity game in Tucson on March 7. The game will benefit the Christina Taylor Green Memorial Fund. Green, the 9-year-old granddaughter of former major league manager Dallas Green, was killed by the gunman who targeted U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in January.