"When you have a young pitching staff, you have to live sometimes with inconsistency," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "That was tough to watch and manage."
Making it just 2 2/3 innings, Bailey gave up nine runs, six of them earned, on eight hits with two walks and no strikeouts. He was trailing, 4-1, after two innings and 9-1 when he exited.
Both walks came in a five-run bottom of the third, as did two wild pitches and the hitting of leadoff batter Manny Ramirez in the hand to start the rally. But Bailey's command was lacking the entire evening.
"I noticed the same thing," Bailey said. "It's just one of those things that you just have to wake up the next day and go back to square one. It wasn't anything mechanical. I just tried to go out there and do too much."
In each of the first two innings, the Dodgers' first three batters collected hits. After a pair of singles in the first inning, Ramirez got both runners home with a liner to the left-field corner that got past Jonny Gomes and rolled around the warning track. Ramirez was credited with a two-run triple.
Gomes got one run back by reaching out on a 1-1 pitch low and away, hitting a leadoff home run to right field off of Dodgers starter Randy Wolf. Over 7 1/3 innings, Wolf allowed two runs on just four hits.
In the second inning, after James Loney's leadoff single, eighth hitter Matt Kemp hit a 3-2 off-speed pitch for a two-run homer.
"It seemed like he was either way out of the zone or over the heart of the plate," Baker said. "Then he lost command of his off-speed breaking balls and they were just sitting on fastballs. When that happens, they're hitting ahead of the count. When you're behind the count a lot, you've got to find more of the plate than you want to.
"There weren't that many first-pitch strikes. They were tattooing some balls pretty good. You've got a good lineup when your eighth hitter is hitting .323. I don't know if I've seen that, ever."
The wheels came completely off in the bottom of the third, however, when the Dodgers scored five on only two hits.
It started when Ramirez was drilled in the side of his left hand with a 95-mph Bailey fastball. Ramirez had to leave the game and go to the hospital for X-rays that were negative.
"The good news is, Manny's hand isn't broken," Bailey said. "I'm glad that's the case or there would have been a lot of mad Los Angelians at me. I was trying to get about stomach high and in. That's kind of what we had on him. You have to go in. When you go in, you don't want to miss over the plate, because he's liable to hit it 800 feet. The pitch just got away from me."
Pinch-runner Juan Pierre advanced to second on a wild pitch to Andre Ethier, who walked on four pitches. Casey Blake followed with a grounder to Joey Votto, who made a bad throw to second base on the fielder's choice for an error that loaded the bases. Bailey's second wild pitch scored Pierre and a two-run single by Loney followed. With two outs, Rafael Furcal hit a two-run single that ended Bailey's night.
Bailey went into the All-Star break with two high-quality performances but didn't carry it into the second half through his past two starts. On Thursday vs. the Brewers, he gave up a career-high seven earned runs over 5 1/3 innings during a loss. He's given up six walks and struck out three.
In five starts since returning to the Majors, Bailey has a 6.84 ERA. His overall record is 1-2 with a 7.63 ERA.
Baker left Bailey out there longer than he would have otherwise wanted but was aware that his bullpen worked three innings the previous night's 7-5 loss.
"It became more about bullpen preservation than anything else," Baker said. "You try to figure out how you'll get through the game without tearing up your whole bullpen, especially after you just went to it last night."
Los Angeles scored three more runs in the fifth off of Jared Burton, which included a two-run homer by Furcal.
At 44-49, the Reds are a season-worst five games under .500, but because of a Cardinals loss, remained 5 1/2 games out of first place.