The Cincinnati Reds returned home to Great American Ballpark on Friday and gave the fans something to cheer about in a 5-3 win over their NL Central rival, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Homer Bailey (4-3) allowed three runs in six innings, but got enough support from Todd Frazier and Brayan Pena to secure his third win in his last four decisions. The Reds (22-24) continued to have Shelby Miller's (6-3) number this season as they have handed him two of his three defeats.
Miller was victimized first in the third inning when Pena singled and Billy Hamilton drew a two out walk to bring up Frazier. The Reds' third baseman sent a ball way over the head of Peter Bourjos, who had robbed Devin Mesoraco of a home run in the previous inning, to give the Reds a 3-0 lead.
The Cardinals (26-22) cut right into that lead in the fourth when Allen Craig ripped a two-run single off Bailey. St. Louis threatened to tie the game with runners on first and second with one outs, but Bailey got Matt Adams to fly out and then struck out Jhonny Peralta to end the inning. Pena got a run back in the bottom of the inning with a sac fly that scored Jay Bruce.
St. Louis answered right back in the sixth when Craig and Adams singled to set up an RBI groundout by Peralta. Bourjos followed with another single to give the Cardinals another runner in scoring position, but Bailey picked off Peralta at second to end the threat. Seth Maness was brought on in the bottom half of the inning for St. Louis and gave up a homer to Mesoraco, who would not be robbed this time as he sent a towering fly ball that nearly landed in the upper deck.
The Reds got scoreless innings from Manny Parra and Jonathan Broxton to set up Aroldis Chapman for a save opportunity. The ninth inning featured a defensive change as well when Donald Lutz came on to play first for Pena. Lutz was called up on Friday while Neftali Soto was sent down. Lutz, who played in 34 games with Cincinnati last year, was brought up after being in Louisville for just a week. Soto had struggled this season, hitting just .107.
As for Chapman, he quickly retired the first two hitters before allowing a single to pinch hitter Mark Ellis. Another pinch hitter, Shane Robinson, followed with a towering fly ball that would die at the warning track and land harmlessly in the glove of Ryan Ludwick to end the game and give Chapman his sixth save of the year.
The Reds and Redbirds continue their three game series on Saturday that features a match-up between two lefties that have recently returned from the disabled list. Jaime Garcia (0-1, 5.14 ERA) gave up two home runs to the Braves in his season debut while Tony Cingrani (2-3, 3.76 ERA) was roughed up by the Phillies in his first start since being activated from the DL. The Cardinals currently hold a 4-3 lead in the season series.