CHICAGO (AP) — Dusty Baker and the Cincinnati Reds moved one step closer to the NL Central title on Tuesday night, thanks to another solid September start by Homer Bailey.
The right-hander pitched effectively into the eighth inning and Ryan Hanigan hit a three-run double to lead Cincinnati to a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
"We had just enough offense to win," Baker said after his 3,000th game as a big league manager. "That was a big double by Hanigan. Just a big victory for us, back to 30 over and one step closer."
The Reds (89-59) have a magic number of four to clinch the division championship over St. Louis. The Cardinals beat Houston 4-1 on Tuesday night.
Bailey (12-9) took a two-hit shutout into the eighth before Darwin Barney had his second single of the night and pinch-hitter Bryan LaHair hit an RBI double to make it 3-1. Sean Marshall then came in and hit pinch-hitter Dave Sappelt before getting a strikeout and grounder to end the threat.
Jonathan Broxton worked a perfect ninth for his third save in five chances with Cincinnati, which acquired him in a July 31 deal with Kansas City. The big right-hander has recorded 11 consecutive scoreless appearances, allowing just five hits and converting each of his three save opportunities during the streak.
Bailey allowed four hits, struck out four and walked two while improving to 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA in four starts this month. He is 3-0 against the Cubs this season and 5-2 for his career.
"Once we scored those three runs, I really put a lot of effort into putting up some zeroes," Bailey said. "Really wish I could have finished that eighth. I threw a pretty good pitch, LaHair just went down there and got it. Nothing you can really do about that."
Cubs starter Justin Germano was working on a shutout before he was pulled after he walked the first three batters in the sixth — Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce. Manny Corpas came in and Hanigan hit a drive to right-center with one out that cleared the bases.