By Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer
Homer Bailey wouldn’t read too much into one solid outing.
Still, it was a big step in the right direction for the right-hander whose career has been riddled by arm injuries.
Bailey went six effective innings for his first win since Aug. 12, Billy Hamilton had a two-out, two-run single after missing a game with a bothersome back and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Colorado Rockies 8-1 on Tuesday night.
“You just keep grinding away,” Bailey said.
Bailey (1-2) scattered eight hits in the longest of his three starts this season. He was on the disabled list until June 24 as he recovered from offseason surgery to remove bone spurs in his pitching elbow. He’s still working his way back into form.
The 31-year-old Bailey has been limited to 11 starts since 2015 due to an assortment of arm surgeries.
“He missed a lot of time,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “When he’s on, he’s a good matchup. He can beat anybody.”
In his first two starts this season, Bailey allowed 14 runs in 4 2/3 innings. He had plenty of traffic on the bases against Colorado, but worked his way out of trouble as he lowered his ERA from 27.00 to 12.66.
Back to his old self?
“That’s the thing about baseball — as soon as you think something is going the right way, it stops, or you think it’s going the wrong way, and it ends,” Price said. “We just let the season play itself out. That’s the safe way to go.”
Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler and pinch-hitter Scooter Gennett added homers for the Reds, who have won three of their last 18 road games.
Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland (8-7) struggled early before settling down. He gave up five runs over 5 1/3 innings in his third straight loss.
“I think the line probably looks a little worse than how he pitched,” manager Bud Black said. “He got a couple pitches up later in the game.”
Hamilton quickly rebounded from a stiff lower back. Price said his speedy outfielder arrived at the park early Tuesday, took some treatment, hit in the cage and was pronounced fit to play. Hamilton had two hits, including his two-run single in the second to make it 3-1, and was robbed of another on an over-the-shoulder catch by Rockies second baseman Alexi Amarista.
In the third inning, Peraza’s blooper dropped in for a run-scoring single after left fielder Raimel Tapia momentarily hesitated. Possibly sensing some frustration from Freeland, Black sauntered to the mound, told everyone to stay away and had a one-on-one conversation with his pitcher.
Whatever Black said — he wouldn’t elaborate — momentarily did the trick. Freeland retired eight straight, including a diving catch by Tapia, before Peraza’s homer in the sixth.
“My command is not where it needs to be,” Freeland said.
Rockies: 2B DJ LeMahieu (groin) was given the night off. “It’s a good break for him,” Black said.
Rockies RHP Chad Bettis threw 30 pitches in the bullpen, eight warmup tosses and then 25 more during a batting practice session Tuesday as he continues his comeback from treatment for testicular cancer.
“It’s nice to be talking about mechanics again instead of how my strength is, how I’m recovering, stuff like that,” said Bettis, who went through his final round of chemotherapy in May. “I feel back.”
Bettis will throw batting practice again this weekend and then may head out for a rehab assignment.
The Rockies had 10 hits — all singles.
“We need five or six guys swinging the bat well. We do not have that now,” Black said.
Reds: RHP Scott Feldman will take the mound Wednesday. He leads the team in wins (7), innings pitched (97 2/3), strikeouts (80) and quality starts (9).
Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (1-0, 3.93 ERA) makes his second start since returning from a broken bone in his left foot.