PHOENIX (AP) — Homer Bailey took the mound for only the 12th time in the last three seasons — and shut down the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Cincinnati right-hander threw 6 2/3 strong innings, Scott Schebler doubled in the go-ahead run and left fielder Adam Duvall threw out Paul Goldschmidt at the plate in the Reds’ 2-1 victory over the Diamondbacks on Sunday.
The Diamondbacks, one of the feel-good stories of the first half, limp into the All-Star break losers of five of six games, four of them by one run.
“Tough, tough game to lose,” said Arizona manager Torey Lovullo, whose team has fallen 7 1/2 games behind first-place Los Angeles in the NL West.
Bailey (2-2) gave up a run on seven hits in his fourth start since returning from February surgery to remove small bone spurs from his right elbow.
It was the last of a string of operations that began in 2014 when he had a torn flexor tendon repaired. A year later, he underwent Tommy John surgery.
“As cliche as it sounds you just kind of keep going forward,” Bailey said of his battle back. “It’s behind us. It’s behind me. You just keep going.”
After surrendering 14 runs in his first two starts this year, Bailey allowed one run in six innings at Colorado on Tuesday.
“I think certainly the last two games would suggest that he is really getting back to the Homer we knew before he started to have the injury problems,” Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said.
A.J. Pollock homered for Arizona, his first since a six-week stint on the disabled list with a groin injury. Patrick Corbin (6-9) allowed two runs in six innings and matched his season high with nine strikeouts, but took the loss.
The Diamondbacks offense sputtered again, with a combined one run in its last 19 innings. Arizona was 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and had two thrown out at the plate.
Raisel Iglesias pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 17 tries.
The Reds broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth. With one out, Duvall doubled down the right field line. The next batter, Eugenio Suarez, was called out on strikes and broke his bat on the plate in disgust before being ejected by home plate umpire Brian O’Nora.
Schebler followed with a line shot to right field, where David Peralta slipped breaking for the ball. The ball got past him for an RBI double and Cincinnati led 2-1.
“It was a hard line drive and I had to go to the right really hard and I slipped,” Peralta said. “There was nothing you can do. I was trying to do my best and try to make the play but it didn’t happen.”
The Diamondbacks had runners at first and second with no outs in the sixth when Owings singled to short left field but Goldschmidt, trying to score from second, was thrown out at home by Duvall.
Third base coach Tony Perezchica sent Goldschmidt home on what promised to be a close play even though there were no outs in a one-run game.
“I think we all understand that it wasn’t probably the right moment to try and send Goldy,” Lovullo said, “but we all make mistakes.”
Arizona still had runners at second and third but Bailey struck out Chris Iannetta and Ketel Marte to escape the threat.
Bailey led off the third with his first hit of the season and Billy Hamilton bounced into a fielder’s choice. Hamilton stole second, his 37th stolen base of the season and fourth in two games. Joey Votto poked a soft single into center field to bring Hamilton home and make it 1-0.
Arizona has lost eight of its last 11 games, including a trio of one-run losses to the Dodgers in Los Angeles, capped by a four-run ninth-inning LA rally in that series’ finale.
Diamondbacks: OF Yasmany Tomas has missed the last 31 games and an MRI last week indicated there could be a significant problem with his groin. There is no timetable for his return.
Diamondbacks: After sending four players to the All-Star game (Paul Goldschmidt, Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray and Jake Lamb), Arizona resumes play Friday at Atlanta. Taijuan Walker (6-4, 3.65 ERA) will start for the Diamondbacks.
Reds: Cincinnati resumes play Friday at home against Washington. Either RH Luis Castillo (1-1, 3.13) or RH Tim Adleman (5-6, 4.71) will start for the Reds. Cincinnati will have Votto and Zack Gozart in the All-Star Game.