ST. LOUIS -- There's no way a Cincinnati fan could have felt good about where Tuesday night's game in Busch Stadium was going, even when Alfredo Simon took the mound for the bottom of the sixth inning with a 4-1 lead over St. Louis.
Because Simon was at 92 pitches, the bullpen was about to get involved. And when the bullpen gets involved these days for the Reds, it's a little bit like laying a glass of grape juice on a white rug. It's not going to turn out nicely.
Sure enough, Simon didn't last the inning, forcing Cincinnati's bullpen -- which entered the game 0-9 with a 4.56 earned-run average since the All-Star break -- to cover 11 outs for the win.
You don't have to be an Ivy Leaguer to know where this was heading. Sam LeCure gave up the inherited runner, cutting the lead to one. Manny Parra pitched a scoreless seventh, but Jumbo Diaz allowed an eighth-inning run for the second straight night to tie it.
J.J. Hoover, he of the 1-10 record and 5.37 ERA, completed the latest meltdown in the ninth. A walk, single, walk and hit batter later, the Reds trudged back into the clubhouse with their 31st one-run loss of the year.
"Short starts have bit us on the tail this road trip," manager Bryan Price said. "It blows up the bullpen."
STREAK: Lost four
NEXT: Reds (RHP Johnny Cueto, 15-6, 2.06 ERA) at Cardinals (RHP Lance Lynn, 13-8, 2.91 ERA)
--RHP Alfredo Simon left with a lead that disappeared when the Cincinnati bullpen got its hands on it, making it seven winless starts since the All-Star break. Simon battled through 109 pitches and 5 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs with a walk and two strikeouts. His pitch count soared to 60 after a 32-pitch third and he just couldn't get a lot of easy outs.
--RHP Johnny Cueto tries to continue a Cy Young Award-worthy season Wednesday night in the finale of Cincinnati's series in St. Louis. Cueto rolled through eight innings Friday night at Colorado, picking up a 3-2 win as he allowed six hits and two runs with two walks and six strikeouts. His only outing against the Cardinals this year came on Opening Day, a 1-0 loss that saw him give up just three hits in seven hits with a walk and eight whiffs.
--LHP Aroldis Chapman (shoulder) wasn't available Monday night and was spotted walking around the clubhouse afterward with an ice pack strapped to his shoulder. Chapman may have been injured while walking all four men he faced in a 28-pitch stint Sunday at Colorado. Prior to that game, Chapman hadn't allowed a run in his past eight appearances, covering 8 1/3 innings. He didn't pitch Tuesday night.
--LHP David Holmberg will reportedly be called up to start Thursday night's series opener with Atlanta at the Great American Ballpark. Holmberg was scratched from his start with Triple-A Louisville Monday, and with the Reds needing an extra starter because of Sunday's doubleheader in Colorado, Holmberg will get the call. He gave up seven hits and five runs over 2 2/3 innings in his first start for Cincinnati on July 8 against the Chicago Cubs.
--CF Billy Hamilton beat out his 26th infield hit of the season to start the fourth, later scoring on Todd Frazier's two-run homer. Hamilton was 1-for-5 on the night, but took better at-bats than he has at times this year, seeing a total of 27 pitches. If Hamilton can up his walk rate to 10 percent from its current 4.8 percent, he could get on base enough to threaten 100 steals one season.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "I've never been around something like that. I never want to see it again." -- 3B Todd Frazier, of the recent stretch of tough losses. With Tuesday's 5-4 setback to St. Louis, Cincinnati suffered its third walk-off loss in four games and dropped to 18-31 in one-run games.
--LHP Aroldis Chapman (sore left shoulder) didn't pitch Aug. 18 and Aug. 19. He may have been injured Aug. 17.
--RHP Homer Bailey (strained flexor mass in right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 8. He will be out until at least early September, but the Reds hope he can pitch again this season.
--1B Joey Votto (strained left distal quadriceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 6, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 16. He underwent a second round of platelet-rich plasma injections July 21. He is not expected to begin baseball activity until the end of August.
--LHP Sean Marshall (left shoulder soreness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 11, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 20. He underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery June 24.
--RHP Trevor Bell (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list April 8, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 20. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on June 6, but he was shut down after that one outing. He underwent season-ending surgery July 16.
RHP Johnny Cueto
RHP Mike Leake
RHP Alfredo Simon
RHP Mat Latos
LHP Aroldis Chapman (closer)
RHP Jonathan Broxton
RHP J.J. Hoover
RHP Sam LeCure
LHP Manny Parra
RHP Jumbo Diaz
RHP Carlos Contreras
RHP Logan Ondrusek
1B Jack Hannahan
2B Brandon Phillips
SS Zack Cozart
3B Todd Frazier
INF Kristopher Negron
INF/OF Skip Schumaker
INF Ramon Santiago
LF Ryan Ludwick
CF Billy Hamilton
RF Jay Bruce
OF Chris Heisey
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