MIAMI -- On top of trying to pitch well and keep his team in the game, starter Homer Bailey was given another mission by the Reds on Wednesday night. Pitch as deep into night as possible and preserve the bullpen. During a 5-3 Reds loss to the Marlins that snapped a three-game win streak, Bailey was lackluster and only made it 5 1/3 innings while throwing 115 pitches. But the bullpen still found a way to refresh itself because Daniel Ray Herrera and Mike Lincoln were so effective.
"The shining light I guess was the fact that we didn't go through our whole bullpen," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "A couple of guys saved us." Nine games into the season and two turns through the rotation, the Reds rotation still lacks a victory. Going into the night, Baker planned to ride his starting pitcher as long as possible. As Bailey (0-1) appeared to labor while he threw 24 pitches in the first inning and 47 through two, the bullpen rest still seemed like wishful thinking. Still, he managed to minimize the potential damage during some lengthy innings. "I didn't locate the way I wanted to," said Bailey, who allowed five earned runs on eight hits and four walks with three strikeouts. "I made some stupid pitches. I knew they were short in the bullpen. I was trying to get guys out early and trying to be too fine, maybe." Florida attacked quickly in the first inning with Cameron Maybin's leadoff single and John Baker's RBI double to left-center field. Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad made it 2-0 in the second inning with a blooped RBI single in front of sliding right fielder Jay Bruce. "He was throwing the ball with great velocity -- 93-95 mph consistently -- and he was doing better at the end," Baker said. "He just missed on location [on] a couple of pitches and it cost him." Bailey did enjoy a 1-2-3 third inning, but the first of those missed pitches came in the Marlins' fourth. A 2-1 fastball left up and over the plate for Brett Carroll was deposited over the left-field wall. Jorge Cantu did likewise with a 1-2 slider for a long ball in the fifth. For Cantu, he set a Major League record as the first player to record a hit and RBI in his team's first nine games of a season since the RBI stat began being counted in 1920. With his bullpen equally used lately, Marlins starter Chris Volstad (1-1) also ran up a high pitch count of 117 in 6 2/3 innings, but gave up no hits until Jonny Gomes' RBI single in the top of the fourth. Bailey faced four batters in the bottom of the sixth and his walk of Maybin left Herrera to clean up a bases-loaded jam. Baker hit an RBI single to center field that scored Carroll, but Herrera got Hanley Ramirez to ground into a force play at the plate and a Cantu fly out. In his first start on April 9 vs. the Cubs, Bailey had a similar outcome. He threw 106 pitches in five innings, including 64 through his first three "It's a situation where we have to find a way to get him out of the gate quicker and minimize those pitches earlier so he can go deeper in the game," Baker said. The Reds kept the game closer than it seemed when Paul Janish's two-run home run to left field made it a two-run game in the seventh inning. That was the first homer for Janish and it came during his first start of the season. He was 2-for-4 and also had a double and a walk. Florida negated any chance of a comeback when Burke Badenhop worked a scoreless two-inning save. Lincoln also gave the Reds two scoreless innings of relief after Herrera and it enabled some other relievers to get some much needed rest. The bullpen was used for five innings in each of the first two games against Florida -- both extra-inning wins. Closer Francisco Cordero, who worked six of the previous seven days, Nick Masset, Arthur Rhodes, Micah Owings and Logan Ondrusek all kept their seats in the bullpen. "Our bullpen is slowly but surely getting back together," Baker said. Baker and general manager Walt Jocketty entertained the idea of calling up a reliever for Thursday but decided against it. "I don't think so, I just got through to Walt about that," Baker said. "Arthur was off today. Daniel didn't throw a lot of pitches. Masset was off two days and Cordero was off with a much needed day and Micah was off. We're relatively strong. Hopefully we don't need anybody tomorrow and [Aaron] Harang throws up a gem for us."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.