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Published: Saturday, 6/9/2007

Homers help Reds' rookie beat Indians

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CINCINNATI - Homer Bailey knows he can pitch better, but he'll settle for a win in his major league debut.

The Cincinnati rookie struggled through five innings, but he benefited from three home runs, including the 577th of Ken Griffey Jr.'s career, to get the win as the Reds beat the Cleveland Indians 4-3 last night.

"Not too good," said Bailey, Cincinnati's No. 1 pick in the 2004 draft, when asked to rate his performance. "I got behind a lot of hitters. But we got the win, and that's the most important thing."

Brandon Phillips and Jeff Conine also homered in support of Bailey, the No. 7 overall pick in 2004 who made his highly anticipated debut three years and one day after being drafted by the Reds.

"Everybody wanted to see him," manager Jerry Narron said. "He's got great stuff, and he made the pitches to get people out."

Bailey's biggest pitch was his last. The Indians loaded the bases with two outs against him in the fifth, but with the crowd of 38,696 standing and cheering, the right-hander struck out David Dellucci looking on a 93 mph fastball.

"That was awesome," Bailey said. "You get that last strike, and everything shuts off, and you can really hear it."

"He was very effective," Del-lucci said. "He had us going after pitches up in the strike zone, and he had a little cutter that kept us [left-handers] off balance. He had me guessing, and I guessed wrong."

It was the 114th and final pitch of the night for Bailey (1-0), who allowed two runs and five hits with four walks and three strikeouts. He left with a 3-2 lead.

"He deserved every opportunity to get out of that inning, and he did," Narron said. "The only negative is he got his pitch count up. That's something he had problems with in the minor leagues, and we've got to get him out of it."

"I learned to not get behind hitters - throw less," Bailey said.

Mike Stanton, Jon Coutlangus and Gary Majewski combined for 22/3 innings of scoreless relief before David Weathers got the last four outs for his 12th save in 14 opportunities.

Cliff Lee (2-4) has lost all four of his starts since beating the Reds 9-4 on May 18. He gave up four hits and four runs with three walks and three strikeouts in six innings.

Griffey led off the sixth against Lee with a home run to right field, his 14th of the season, to give Cincinnati a 4-2 lead.

Phillips led off the fourth against Lee with a double. One out later, Conine hit his third home run of the season into the left field seats to give Cincinnati a 3-2 lead.

Cleveland scored a run against Bailey with two outs in the first inning on Travis Hafner's single and Victor Martinez's double.

"We definitely had our opportunities, but we didn't take advantage," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "We made the kid work, but we took a couple of two-strike pitches, and that's uncharacteristic for us."

Phillips tied the score in the bottom of the inning with his 11th homer of the season, an opposite-field liner to right.

Cleveland regained a one-run lead in the fourth when Martinez led off with a single, moved to third on Trot Nixon's double and scored on Dellucci's sacrifice fly.

Ryan Garko hit a pinch-hit home run leading off the ninth - his eighth of the year - to make it 4-3.

NOTES: Conine's home run was his first in 84 at-bats, dating back to April 21. ... Phillips' homer was his third of the season against his former team. ... Casey Blake singled in the seventh inning to extend his career-best hitting streak to 17 games. ... Lee's loss was his first in nine decisions against NL teams.



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