BALTIMORE – There have been far too many losses for the Cincinnati Reds during the second half of the season, some harder to take than others.
Their latest, however, was far easier to swallow than most.
Cincinnati rallied from a six-run deficit before falling to the Baltimore Orioles 9-7 Thursday night. The encouraging aspect of the loss was that the Reds staged a rousing comeback with a starting lineup that included five September call-ups and first baseman Jack Hannahan, who played in his 17th game of the season.
"It would have been nice to hold on to win but I was proud of the way the guys came back," manager Bryan Price said. "You get tired of sucking silver linings out of losses, but it was definitely some fun and entertaining things to watch."
After watching the Reds get beat 6-0 on Wednesday — their 15th loss in 21 games — Bryan Price said he was going to "see what we have in our system."
So he threw out a lineup that contained six players with a combined one RBI and veteran fixtures Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco, who went 4 for 4, hit his 21st home run and had four RBIs.
With Mesoraco leading the way, the Reds came back from a 6-0 first-inning deficit.
"You got to keep going out there and doing your job to the best of your ability," Mesoraco said. "You can't get down, you can't get frustrated too much. Obviously, it is frustrating, but you can't give up. You just have to go out there and try to put together a good at-bat, a good inning and see what happens."
A four-run seventh tied it at 7, but the Reds dropped to 66-74, the first time they've been eight games under .500 since Oct. 2, 2009.
Nick Markakis led off the bottom half with a single off Manny Parra (0-2), and J.J. Hardy put Baltimore back in front with a bases-loaded single on a 3-1 pitch from Sam LeCure.
Tommy Hunter (3-2) worked 1 1-3 innings and Zach Britton got three outs for his 33rd save.
"We saw their best and competed," Price said.
"I hated that we couldn't win the game," said leadoff hitter Jason Bourgeois, one of the September call-ups. "Anytime you go back and forth with a team it shows the fight in you and that you aren't giving up. A lot of positives we can take from tonight. At the end of the day, though, you want to come out with a win. The ultimate prize is the win."
Nelson Cruz hit his major league-leading 37th home run with a man on and newcomer Kelly Johnson doubled in a run before Nick Hundley capped the first-inning uprising against Mike Leake with a three-run shot.
Jonathan Schoop connected in the fourth to make it 7-2. The rookie has homered in three straight games.
Leake yielded a career high-tying seven runs on seven hits in four innings. The three home runs he allowed also matched a career high.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman gave up five hits over six innings. He left with Baltimore up 7-3.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey will have surgery on his elbow Friday to repair a torn tendon. Bailey, who's on the 60-day DL, expects to be fully recovered by the start of spring training.
Orioles: 1B Steve Pearce, who has not played since Aug. 29 because of a strained abdominal muscle, hopes to return Saturday against Tampa Bay. Also, reliever Andrew Miller is day-to-day with a tender hamstring.
Reds: Alfredo Simon, who's 1-6 in the second half, takes the mound Friday night for the opener of a series against the visiting New York Mets.
Orioles: Wei-Yin Chen (14-4) starts for the fifth time this season against Tampa Bay to launch a three-game series Friday night.