Homer Bailey makes season debut against Cardinals
A number of St. Louis batters continued their impressive starts in the Cardinals' third straight victory.
The Cincinnati Reds' struggling offense is hoping to wake up behind Homer Bailey in his season debut Saturday at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis, which took two out of three in Cincinnati last week, won 6-1 Friday. Yadier Molina put the Cardinals (6-3) ahead with a three-run double in the seventh inning. Scoring on that play were Jhonny Peralta and Matt Holliday, who have both hit safely in all nine games. They're the first teammates to do so since the New York Yankees' Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano opened with 11 and 10-game hitting streaks in 2010.
Peralta is hitting .361 with seven RBIs while Holliday is at .344 with six driven in. Matt Carpenter is also batting .378 with six doubles after hitting two Friday.
Molina has been no slouch either, going 9 for 22 with six RBIs over his last six games. Cincinnati intentionally walked Jon Jay with one out to load the bases for Molina's decisive hit.
"That's baseball," Molina said. "Try to get a good pitch to hit and try to make good contact. Everybody knows I've been in the league 12 years and I'm an aggressive guy. It was special, a good moment."
The Reds (5-5) have lost 12 of 15 at St. Louis and five of six overall. They've been limited to four runs over the last three games with Joey Votto's fourth homer the only production Friday. He hit six home runs in 62 games last season.
Todd Frazier is 1 for 12 after driving in nine runs in his first seven games.
Devin Mesoraco, who tied Frazier for the team lead in RBIs last year, missed a fourth straight game due to a sore hip, though manager Bryan Price said he was available to come off the bench. Brayan Pena started in Mesoraco's place at catcher again, going 0 for 4.
Bailey is making his first regular-season start since undergoing surgery on Sept. 5 to repair a torn flexor tendon in his pitching forearm. He made a rehab start for Triple-A Louisville last Saturday, giving up four runs over 5 2-3 innings to Toledo. The right-hander threw 91 pitches and isn't expected to be subjected to a limitation Saturday, according to Price.
"It's great. It solidifies our rotation. We need him," Price said. "We need him to be a performer for us. We need him to give us an opportunity to be a better team in this division."
Bailey was 9-5 with a 3.71 ERA in 2014, including 1-1 with a 6.46 mark in three matchups with the Cardinals.
St. Louis has given up three runs in the last three games and owns an NL-leading 2.00 ERA. Carlos Martinez (0-0, 2.57 ERA) makes his second start against Cincinnati. The righty gave up two runs on solo homers by Billy Hamilton and Jay Bruce on Sunday, but also struck out a career-high eight over six innings in St. Louis' 7-5, 11-inning win.
Frazier is 1 for 9 with five strikeouts against Martinez.
Carpenter is 15 for 25 off Bailey.