Texas-born right-hander Homer Bailey attempts to beat the St. Louis Cardinals for the first time in nearly a year tonight, when the Cincinnati Reds host their division rivals in the finale of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.
Bailey is 2-6 against the Cardinals in 10 career starts, including a 7-1 loss in Cincinnati in his initial appearance of the 2012 season on April 9.
In that game, he allowed four runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
He also took a 6-4 loss at St. Louis on Sept. 3 last season since his previous defeat of the Cardinals, which occurred on July 17, 2011, when he gave up just three hits and a run in 7 1/3 innings of a 3-1 home triumph.
Bailey won his final two starts heading into the All-Star break and allowed six runs on 12 hits in 14 2/3 innings while defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
He will be opposed by St. Louis righty Jake Westbrook, who was the winner in the aforementioned April 9 matchup after giving up just an unearned run on three hits in seven innings.
It lifted his career record to 3-1 against the Reds in nine meetings, as he's posted a 3.75 earned run average in 48 innings.
In his final five starts before the All-Star break, Westbrook was 3-1 with a no-decision while lowering his ERA from 4.25 to 3.75.
He allowed three runs or less in four of the starts, including a 3-1 win at Detroit in which he tossed his 14th career complete game while walking five, striking out one and allowing an unearned run on five hits.
In Saturday's second game, Ryan Ludwick's one-out solo homer in the 10th inning gave the Reds a 3-2 win.
Sam LeCure (3-2) pitched a perfect top of the frame for the Reds, who have won five straight games.
They share the National League Central Division lead with Pittsburgh, which won at Milwaukee. The teams are 3 1/2 games ahead of the Cardinals, who earned the league's wild card berth in 2011 en route to a World Series title.
The Reds won the division in 2010. Pittsburgh hasn't made the playoffs since 1992.
Jay Bruce slammed a pair of doubles and knocked in a run for Cincinnati.
Victor Marte (2-2) replaced Marc Rzepczynski in the 10th, but served up the deciding blast to left field.
Yadier Molina clubbed a solo homer for the Cardinals, who have lost three of their last five.
After falling behind 0-2, Ludwick worked a full count. Then he hit a 3-2 slider on a line that just cleared the left-field fence.
"Slider, saw it and checked my swing that second pitch," Ludwick said. "I was kind of looking for it the rest of the at-bat."
St. Louis won two of three games in an April series in Cincinnati, then repeated the feat a week later in Missouri. The Reds won the 2011 season series, 9-6. The Cardinals won the series in 2010, 12-6.