CINCINNATI -- Homer Bailey was hit hard during a rocky first inning Thursday night. And in the fifth he narrowly avoided being struck in the face by a line drive. In both instances, the Reds right-hander emerged unscathed.
"I've been bit harder by bed bugs in Saltillo," Bailey said, referring to a Mexican town. Bailey pitched seven shutout innings and center fielder Billy Hamilton went 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI, lifting Cincinnati to a 4-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati (59-56) won three of four against Cleveland in the home-and-home interleague series. The teams split two games at Progressive Field on Monday and Tuesday nights.
Bailey (9-5) allowed four hits, walked one and struck out eight to post his first victory since June 29.
"He was able to throw enough off-speed pitches that they couldn't just sit on the fastball," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He struggled early with his command but came back strong."
In the fifth inning, Bailey used his glove to deflect a line drive by shortstop Jose Ramirez, then fielded the ball and managed a throw to first. He was visited briefly by training staff.
For Price, it brought back painful memories of when closer Aroldis Chapman took a liner off his forehead in spring training.
"Homer got his glove up in time, thankfully," Price said. "When I saw him looking for the ball, that was a good sign."
Reds second baseman Kristopher Negron went 2-for-3, including an RBI single in the sixth inning to make the score 4-0. He was 7-for-13 in the four games against Cleveland with two doubles, a homer and five RBI.
"I've been sticking to my approach," Negron said. "Everybody's been putting the bat on the ball. It's becoming contagious. Rhythm is good."
Indians catcher Yan Gomes extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a seventh-inning single.
Indians starter T.J. House (1-3) allowed four runs (three earned) and eight hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out five.
"That gives you a chance on a normal night," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I thought his stuff was a little flatter than it has been."
Cleveland (57-58) committed three errors, two by first baseman Carlos Santana. The Indians have lost three straight and are 10-11 since the All-Star break.
"Whenever you're at .500, just hanging around and waiting to see what's going to happen, that's tough," House said.
Bailey allowed a double, single and a walk in the first inning. But a double play helped him escape trouble.
"Early on, they were putting some balls in play," Bailey said. "When we start scoring runs, I try to get us back into the dugout as quickly as I can."
Hamilton's speed was on display in the first two innings.
In the first inning, Hamilton singled, went from first to third on right fielder Jay Bruce's hit and scored when Santana threw wildly to third to put Cincinnati ahead 1-0.
Left fielder Ryan Ludwick's RBI single with two outs made the score 2-0.
Hamilton tripled in the second inning to drive home the Reds' third run but was retired in a rundown between third and home to end the inning.
Cleveland had several hard-hit balls off Bailey in the first two innings but nothing to show for it. Bailey struck out five of seven batters during one stretch.
"Everybody knows about our pitching staff," Negron said. "We take the burden off them when we score runs early."
NOTES: Cincinnati took the season series from Cleveland for the first time since 2010.... The Indians announced plans for a multimillion dollar renovation of Progressive Field that will add amenities while reducing capacity by nearly 5,000 seats. "I love what they are trying to do," manager Terry Francona said. "They're trying to get the ballpark in line with the size of the city and our fan base and make it a destination. It looks pretty cool." ... Francona announced Thursday that RHP Carlos Carrasco will start Sunday's series finale at Yankee Stadium. ... The Indians formally recalled RHP C.C. Lee from Triple-A Columbus on Thursday and optioned RHP Danny Salazar. The move was announced after Wednesday night's game. ... Cincinnati has lost 12 of 20 games after the All-Star break but dropped only 2 1/2 games in the National League Central standings.