Billy Hamilton misses chance to be Reds' hero

CINCINNATI (AP) — Billy Hamilton had a chance to be the Reds' hero but he couldn't deliver a second time.

Neither could Alex Blandino or Phillip Ervin.

Thanks to Hamilton's eighth-inning homer and Adam Duvall's solo shot in the ninth, the Reds had a chance to break their seven-game losing streak in the ninth inning against the Cardinals Sunday. They cut a 3-0 deficit to 3-2 and had the tying run on second with no outs.

But the Reds (2-13) haven't been able to get big hits with runners in scoring position in their first 15 games. 

Blandino and Ervin stuck out and Hamilton lined out, stranding another runner in scoring position in the 3-2 loss. Hamilton is hitting .170 with two extra-base hits in 42 at-bats.

The Reds wasted a quality start by Homer Bailey (0-3), who allowed four hits and three runs with four strikeouts and two walks in a season-high seven innings.

"Homer was very, very good," manager Bryan Price said. "He was really acute with his location. He didn't give them much, but they did get the hit, they were able to handle and score a few runs, enough to win."

The Reds have scored a total of five runs in Bailey's four starts, but he was aware of his team's struggles overall.

"We're 2-12," said Bailey, accidentally subtracting a loss. "That's not very good at all, regardless of my numbers. My numbers alone don't count. It's what we're doing as a team, man."

The Reds scored just 10 runs in the series while being swept in four games at home by St. Louis for the first time since July 8-10, 1949.

The Reds haven't enjoyed a lead in 32 innings, going back to the fourth inning on Thursday. They are having the franchise's worst start since the 1931 Reds started 2-17.

St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez struck out a season-high 11 in seven shutout innings and Harrison Bader's two-run home run helped the Cardinals complete their first four-game sweep in Cincinnati since 1949.

After waiting through a rain delay of 2 hours, 36 minutes, Martinez allowed two hits and four walks.

"I just told myself to stay calm and not worry about it," said Martinez (2-1), who described his changeup as "nasty" and said he could move it to both sides of the plate.

"He was great," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "He had electric stuff. He had great execution when he needed it. He was smooth and had a good plan."

Hamilton homered off reliever Tyler Lyons in the eighth inning for his 500th hit.

Bud Norris allowed Duvall's ninth-inning leadoff homer and a bunt single by Tucker Barnhart, who went to second on a throwing error. But Norris pitched out of the jam,

Bader drove Bailey's 1-0 pitch into the right field seats for an opposite-field homer with two outs in the second inning. The opposite-field shot was his first in four big league homers. He credited the experience he gained in 32 games with St. Louis last season.

"That was the biggest thing from my little stint last year," he said. "They really worked the outside half of the plate to me."

The Cardinals added a run with one out in the seventh on Jose Martinez's one-out double and Yadier Molina's RBI single, his second hit of the game.

A MAN ON BASE

The Cardinals' first seven home runs in the series were solo shots before Bader's two-run shot in the second.

JACKIE'S DAY

Everybody in uniform on both teams wore No. 42 as part of Major League Baseball's annual Jackie Robinson Day festivities. Sunday was the 71st anniversary of Robinson's debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

SABO'S DAY

Former Reds 3B Chris Sabo celebrated the 30th anniversary of his Rookie of the Year season by throwing out a ceremonial first pitch.

PERAZA WALK

Cincinnati shortstop Jose Peraza's third-inning walk was his first in 53 plate appearances this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals: 1B Marcell Ozuna was scheduled to get Sunday off after playing every inning of St. Louis' first 15 games.

Reds: OF Scott Schebler made a rehab start for Triple-A Louisville at Lehigh Valley on Sunday. He's been out since April 9 with a bruised nerve in his right elbow after being hit by a pitch on April 8.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (0-2), who is 10-2 in 23 games at Wrigley Field, was scheduled to start the opener of a three-game series against the Cubs in Chicago on Monday.

Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (0-2), who went 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in two games against the Brewers last season, was Cincinnati's scheduled starter in the opener of a three-game series in Milwaukee on Monday.

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