CINCINNATI -- The length of the Reds series' finale with the Cardinals was nearly four hours, and fell only a minute shy of the rain delay that preceded it. It made it all the more difficult to come away empty.
There would be no game win, and no series win as the Reds came away all wet with a 7-6 loss to St. Louis at Great American Ball Park.
"This whole series has been kind of weird with the rain," said Reds third baseman Todd Frazier, who hit two homers in the loss. "It kind of puts a damper on it before the game. You're ready to play at a certain time and what are you going to do? You try to take a nap or play cards, I don't know, but [unless] somebody figures out how to give you energy right before the game, you just can't do it."
There was little offense following Wednesday's delay of two hours and 40 minutes. But following Thursday's three hours and 42 minutes of wait time, the Reds' bats emerged perky in the bottom of the first inning once the skies cleared. During a two-out rally against Cardinals starter Lance Lynn, Joey Votto hit an opposite-field double to the left-field corner. Next was Jay Bruce, who hit a 1-2 pitch for a two-run homer deep into the sun deck seats in right field.
Frazier made it back-to-back homers and a 3-0 game with his shot to left field that traveled an estimated 474 feet. With those two swings, the Reds tripled their run production of the first two games. They started out scoreless in their first 17 innings and had one run over their first 18.
Lacking his best stuff, Reds starter Homer Bailey could not hold the lead. A two-out single by Matt Adams in the top of the second was followed by Jhonny Peralta's two-run homer to left field. Bailey escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third, but ballooned to 63 pitches. In the fourth inning, Jon Jay ripped a one-out RBI double to left-center field to make it a 3-3 game.
Bailey gave up two walks in a fifth inning that included Holliday's one-out RBI double to left field that scored Kolten Wong from first base. He was finished after 4 1/3 innings and allowed four earned runs and seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
"For me, missing those 2 1/2 weeks without mound time [because of a right groin strain] in Spring Training kind of came back and bit me today," Bailey said. "You could definitely tell I wasn't sharp. Lots of walks, just a lot of pitches that missed by an inch or two."
Bailey admitted the long wait during the delay to pitch probably affected him but did not let that be a crutch.
"It's not like I can use that as an excuse or make any excuses, period," Bailey said. "It's a good hitting team over there and they came out ready to play."
Bailey's inability to get deeper into the game exposed a weakness created in Spring Training from numerous injuries to the bullpen. With Alfredo Simon temporarily in the rotation, there was no experienced long reliever available to manager Bryan Price to soak up some innings and hold the game close.
"For me, I'd rather keep a long guy in the game and let him hit rather than burn through two or three other relief pitchers every time the pitcher's spot came up," Price said.
After he earned a bullpen spot at the end of camp as a non-roster player, Trevor Bell struggled in his debut for the Reds in the seventh and faced three batters without notching an out. Bell issued two walks before Matt Holliday skied a drive to the right-center-field wall.
Billy Hamilton just missed a catch as Holliday's ball hit the top of the wall and landed in the glove of Bruce backing up from right field. An umpire review of the video confirmed that Holliday hit a single. Had the ball been caught, Cincinnati might have had a spectacular triple play, while the ball was inches away from a three-run homer for Holliday.
"It would have been nice for it to get a couple inches higher there," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That could have been a very crazy play, but that would have been a nice one to have."
There was never any request for a replay from Price and the Reds after initial confusion on the call that stopped the runners.
"What ended up happening is one umpire ruled out and the other one ruled safe," Price said. "There was a little bit of discrepancy there. Gary Cederstrom, the crew chief, decided to review the play without my request because they wanted to get the call right. What we found was the ball got over Billy's glove, hit the top of the wall and came back in play, and they got the right call."
Logan Ondrusek replaced Bell with the bases loaded and with the infield in, Allen Craig scored a single off of Votto's glove near first base. Yadier Molina added an RBI single before Holliday scored on a wild pitch to Jay for a 7-3 lead.
The Reds answered with three runs in the bottom half. Against lefty Kevin Siegrist, Votto walked and Bruce singled up the middle. Righty Pat Neshek took over and his 3-2 pitch was lifted the other way by Frazier for a three-run homer to right field.
"That's what we need to keep doing," Frazier said. "It shows signs that we've got a team that can hit. We've got a team that can put runs up. And we've got a team that pitching has always been there. We just have to finish."