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Reds can't build on early lead, fall to Rox

Bailey can't hold lead in loss to Rox

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CINCINNATI -- Homer Bailey was cruising right along in his start Saturday against the Rockies. He had a nearly perfect first inning. And he didn't run into much trouble in the second and third.

The fourth, however, was a much different story. With his team leading by two, Bailey gave up three runs and never recovered in a 6-2 loss to the Rockies.

"Homer threw the ball great early," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He made a couple of bad pitches all night."

Those couple of pitches cost the Reds, as they dropped their fifth consecutive and 11th in 12 games.

"We're scuffling, big time," Baker said.

The Reds showed signs of breaking out of their slump. They built a 2-0 lead, with Jonny Gomes plating the second run with a homer in the second, and Bailey was cruising along, firing fastballs past Rockies hitters at 97 mph. Through three innings, he had thrown just 38 pitches.

And even the fourth started out strong, as Bailey struck out Clint Barmes swinging on a 95-mph fastball to get an easy first out. That was about as good as it would get, though.

Bailey then gave up a double to Todd Helton, walked Brad Hawpe, gave up a single to Troy Tulowitzki and another to Ian Stewart, and the game was tied at 2. Carlos Gonzalez delivered the final blow in the frame, a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Tulowitzki. By the time the dust had settled, the Reds trailed, 3-2. Bailey threw 37 pitches in the inning.

"One or two pitches beat me tonight," Bailey said. "Like I said, they're hot right now. They're a really good team and had timely hitting."

Bailey's start didn't get any better after the fourth. He gave up one run in each of the next two frames before leaving with one out in the sixth. Over 5 1/3 innings, he gave up the five runs and seven hits while throwing 100 pitches.

"He's still learning," Baker said. "You got to keep running him out there and wait until he learns all the way. He's close."

Bailey tried his best to keep the game close with his pitching, but the Reds hitters didn't help after the two early runs. The offense had only three hits after Gomes' homer against Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez.

Even the addition of Scott Rolen didn't help the offense. Rolen energized the Reds crowd when he stepped onto the field for the first time. But he couldn't fuel the Reds' sagging offense, going 0-for-4. Rolen also showed his defensive abilities when he cleanly fielded a sharply hit ground ball in the first inning.

Baker said he gave Rolen the option of playing.

"That's the kind of guy he is," Baker said. "He could have easily of said, 'No,' and I would have understood."

Rolen, who had many family members in attendance for his Reds debut, said not playing was never an option.

"They traded me to play," Rolen said. "I wanted to be out there."

Steve Gartner is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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