Homer Bailey pitched well enough in last year's NL division series to help the Cincinnati Reds advance past the San Francisco Giants, but his teammates couldn't score enough runs.
In his first matchup with the Giants since, the right-hander will seek to shake out of a slump and help the Reds build on a decisive victory Tuesday night.
With his team leading 2-0 in the division series, Bailey struck out 10 while giving up one run, one hit and one walk over seven innings, but the Reds fell 2-1 in 10 frames and dropped their next two home games.
Bailey (4-6, 3.88 ERA) hasn't been as spectacular lately, going 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in his last three starts. He gave up four runs in the fourth of his six innings Wednesday in a 5-0 loss in Oakland.
"We could say 'Homer didn't do this,' or 'he was quick,' or whatever. We didn't score any runs, and we had no chance even if it was 1-0," manager Dusty Baker told the team's official website.
The Reds (47-36) have given Bailey a combined two runs of support since his most recent win June 10 but slugged their way to an 8-1 victory in Monday's series opener against the Giants (39-43). Todd Frazier homered and matched a career high with four RBIs before rain shortened the game to six innings.
The runs were the most for Cincinnati since a 12-2 win at the Chicago Cubs on June 11. The Reds were averaging 2.8 runs while batting .220 in their previous 17 games.
"We were more aggressive. We didn't get deep into the count. We were attacking pitches early," Baker said. "Everybody got into the act. We got a couple of cheap hits. We got a couple of line drives. Then we got the big three-run homer (from Frazier)."
Cincinnati, returning home from a 2-6 road trip, dropped San Francisco to 1-6 on its 10-game trek. The Giants have also lost nine of 11 overall, plating two runs or fewer eight times. Leadoff hitter Gregor Blanco is in the middle of the funk, going 0 for 13 in his last four games.
Tim Lincecum (4-8, 4.64) would appear unlikely to spark a turnaround.
The right-hander is 1-6 with a 5.24 ERA in his last eight outings and matched a career high by giving up 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings Wednesday in a 4-2 loss at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"I didn't expand the zone when I needed to, I left too many pitches on the plate and they put some good swings on some pitches, (to add to) the fact that I threw some (lousy) ones," he told the team's official website.
Lincecum is 0-5 with a 5.92 ERA in his last seven road starts and has been given a combined three runs of support in his last four. The Giants have provided him with nine runs in his last eight overall starts after giving him a combined 30 in his first eight this season.
Lincecum is also 0-1 with a 7.41 ERA in his three all-time regular-season matchups with the Reds. He got the win, however, in Game 4 of last year's division series after giving up one run and two hits over 4 1-3 innings of relief.