CINCINNATI -- In all likelihood, one of two trends were going to hold true on Saturday at Great American Ball Park. Either the Reds were going to prolong their recent domination of the Brewers by winning a sixth straight over their NL Central rival, or Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey was going to continue to have trouble with the Milwaukee batters.
Unfortunately for the Reds, Bailey still hasn't figured out the Brewers, as Cincinnati lost, 6-0, in front of a crowd of 37,519.
"They're kind of a tough team to pitch to," Bailey said of the Brewers. "Today we were in the zone a lot. They swing early and often, and we knew that going into it. We were in some pretty good counts, but when you're trying to get deeper into a count or trying to set things up, it's like they automatically ambush you, and that's more what happened tonight."
In 12 starts against Milwaukee, Bailey dropped to 1-6 with a 6.00 ERA. His lone win came in July 2012. On Saturday he surrendered all six runs, which came on eight hits and a walk.
Bailey wasn't the only Red to struggle, though, as Cincinnati was shut out for the third time this season -- the first time since April -- collecting just three hits off of starter Yovani Gallardo and four against the Brewers' bullpen. It was the first time Cincinnati had been shut out at home since back-to-back games against the Phillies in August 2011.
Although Cincinnati made Gallardo work and forced him out of the game after six innings, it could never capitalize. After surrendering a hit and two walks in the first two innings, Gallardo allowed just two Reds to reach base in the next four frames.
Coming off consecutive games that went into extras, including a 14-inning loss to the Cubs in Chicago on Thursday, manager Dusty Baker said his team seemed a little worn down. The Reds made a couple of baserunning miscues, starting in the first inning when Joey Votto was easily picked off at first. Later, Brandon Phillips was a step slow out of the batter's box on a groundball that Jean Segura mishandled, but still threw to first to get the out in time.
"Everybody's operating at a low energy level, but you still have to play. You still have to hustle," Baker said. "It just seems like we have to address it a couple times a year, and we address it. At this point in time, we really shouldn't have to."
However, Baker did give most of the credit to Gallardo, who fanned five on the way to his second straight scoreless outing. On Monday, he went eight innings against the Marlins, giving up just four hits.
"The last game [in Miami] was a little different than this game. He threw a lot of pitches early today," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Gallardo. "But he's still putting up zeros. The guy makes big pitches when he needs to."
Meanwhile, Bailey started his day by breezing through the first, but he created his own problems in the top of the second. After a strikeout to start the inning, the 27-year-old right-hander allowed back-to-back singles. However, it was a pair of wild pitches, the second of which scored a run and advanced Logan Schafer to third base, that really got Bailey into trouble. The Brewers took advantage, scoring a second run on a sac fly by Juan Francisco.
Francisco did more damage in the fifth, connecting on a two-run homer to give Milwaukee a four-run lead. In the sixth, Schafer drove in two more runs on a double that was nearly a triple until he got thrown out at third.
A former Red, Francisco has hit two home runs at Great American Ball Park this season, with the first one coming in May when he was a Brave. His most recent blast hit the foul pole in left where the wall sits 328 feet from home plate. It was also the first home run allowed at home by Bailey this season.
With the loss and a Cardinals win, the Reds (41-28) fell back to 3.5 games behind St. Louis in the NL Central. Bailey dropped to 4-5 after just getting back to .500 in his previous start.
"It was kind of a tough one to swallow," Bailey said. "It's not like we walked a bunch of people or they were banging them off the walls. We had a Great American home run again, which, what do you do? It looks like it's going foul, it was up in the air for 20 minutes and it gets out by two feet. That's just the ballpark we play in."
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.