One very long inning resulted in the shortest start of the season for Reds pitcher Homer Bailey.
The Cleveland Indians scored seven runs with two outs in the fourth inning — on six consecutive run-scoring hits — in rolling to a 7-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night.
Bailey (3-4) had only allowed one hit over the first three frames, but came unglued in the fourth, when he threw 45 pitches and gave up all seven Cleveland runs. The 3 2-3 inning start matched his shortest since June 5, 2012, while the Indians' seven runs tied his season high.
"They hit some pitches that I couldn't have placed any better, then they hit some pitches that I couldn't have thrown any worse in that inning," said Bailey, who struck out five and walked one. "Right up until they had two outs, I was throwing the ball really well and felt really good. But all of a sudden, we just couldn't close the door."
Alfredo Simon relieved Bailey and promptly gave up an RBI single to Asdrubal Cabrera before retiring Nick Swisher. Swisher was the 11th and final batter in the inning for Cleveland, which has won nine straight home games over the Reds, dating back to May 22, 2010.
"We just couldn't turn the faucet off and stop the bleeding," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "It's been a long time since I've seen a team get six straight two-out hits. We were hoping Homer could get us through the inning, but give them credit.
"The Cleveland Indians have been hitting since the beginning of time. It's always been their pitching that was the issue, but the Cleveland Indians have always been able to hit, just like they did tonight."
The Reds, who are 18-7 in May, dropped one game behind the Pirates and into third place in the National League Central. Cincinnati begins a three-game series at Pittsburgh on Friday.
Cleveland also gained a split in its four-day Ohio Cup matchup with the Reds. Cincinnati swept the Indians in a two-game series Monday and Tuesday at Great American Ball Park, but dropped both contests in the subsequent two-game set at Progressive Field.
"They had lost five games in a row, but they came home and beat our brains out two nights in a row," Baker said. "That's baseball for you. Honestly, if had we scored the first run tonight, I think things could have been very different."
The Reds' lone run came in the sixth when Jay Bruce singled home Brandon Phillips from second base. Bruce and left fielder Derrick Robinson each had two hits, accounting for half of their team's total of eight.
Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir (3-2) scattered eight hits over seven innings, allowing one run in his longest start in three years. He struck out five and walked one.
Cincinnati's best opportunity for a big inning off Kazmir came in the third when it loaded the bases with one out. Instead of breaking the scoreless tie, however, Reds first baseman Joey Votto grounded into a double play to end the threat.
"That was huge," Kazmir said. "He's a very good hitter. I knew I had to be careful. That's the bottom line."
Baker also lamented the missed opportunity, comparing it to the double play that Xavier Paul hit into Wednesday in the sixth inning of Cincinnati's 5-2 loss.
"Just like last night, we had a chance to break it open with a very dependable guy at the plate with the bases loaded, but we hit into a double play," he said. "What are you going to do? That's a tough one."
Votto went 0-for-4, snapping his career-long 18-game road hitting streak. He is batting .400 (40 for 100) in May.
Simon, J.J. Hoover and Manny Parra combined to throw 4 1-3 scoreless innings while following Bailey.
NOTES: Cincinnati RHP Johnny Cueto (2-0) challenges Pittsburgh LHP Wandy Rodriguez (6-2) in the teams' series opener Friday. ... Baker is five wins away from tying Ralph Houk for 16th place all-time with 1,619. ... Votto is the only Reds player to appear in all 54 games this season. ... Cincinnati CF Shin-Soo Choo leads the NL with 14 hit by pitches. He also has reached base safely in 48 of his 52 games. ... Indians RF Ryan Raburn exited in the fifth inning with lower leg cramping and is listed as day-to-day. ... Indians 1B Nick Swisher was honored by the FBI Citizens Academy Foundation before the game. Swisher donated $25,000 to the organization in support of the FBI's Child ID Kit program.