MIAMI -- For a while now, Homer Bailey felt he had a big performance coming.
Tuesday night, it finally arrived.
Bailey (2-3) pitched a complete-game six-hitter, striking out 10 and walking none to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 6-2 win over the Miami Marlins.
Backed by Xavier Paul's three-run double during a five-run Reds second inning, Bailey was nearly flawless in a 125-pitch effort.
"I've had two or three games where I felt I could have gone nine (innings) -- against Philadelphia was one and then Washington," Bailey said. "My bullpen has been griping at me the past couple of games when I only went five or six innings. It was about time I gave them the night off."
Bailey, who hit one batter, allowed single runs in the first and seventh innings.
Reds manager Dusty Baker certainly was not complaining.
"He never wants to come out," Baker said. "Some guys don't care about complete games, but if you are a competitor, you do."
To finish the job, Bailey needed 10 pitches in a battle with last batter, Greg Dobbs, finally getting the Miami first baseman to line out to shortstop.
Bailey's final pitch registered 97 mph, showing he was still strong, but Baker said he would have taken his starter out had Dobbs gotten on base.
"We were counting pitches in that last inning," Baker said of his coaching staff. "We were like, 'Come on, Homer. Quit fouling 'em off, Dobbs.'
"I know Homer would have been terribly upset if we had to take him out. He kept looking over to me. He said I was making him laugh, but I wasn't in the laughing (mood)."
Bailey said he figured Dobbs was his last shot at finishing the game.
"I felt pretty good, but you're always one pitch away from getting the yips," Bailey said. "If I didn't get (Dobbs), they probably would have brought in (closer Aroldis) Chapman."
Marlins rookie second baseman Derek Dietrich, who hit a run-scoring single off Bailey in the first inning, was impressed with the right-hander.
"He pitched a great game," Dietrich said. "He battled and got better as the game went on. We put some good at-bats against him, but they just didn't fall in our favor."
Bailey's effort helped the Reds (23-16) earn their fourth win in a row.
The Marlins, the worst team in the National League at 11-28, dropped their third straight game. They have lost six of their past seven.
Miami's Ricky Nolasco (2-5) allowed six runs in five innings. He only gave up two walks, but both of those bases on balls drove in runs during his brutal second inning.
That crucial inning started when Ryan Hanigan singled, Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a pitch and Zack Cozart singled to load the bases. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips drew walks to give the Reds a 3-1 lead.
Paul, who entered the game with just 10 RBIs, worked the count to 3-1 and sliced an opposite-field, three-run double to left that eluded Juan Pierre and one-hopped the fence. That gave the Reds a 6-1 lead.
"It was frustrating because they scored all their runs in that inning with two out," Nolasco said. "I've been doing a good job all year of staying away from the crooked-number, big inning, but it got me this time. Votto laid off some good pitches, and (Paul) put (his hit) in a good spot for him in left with the wind carrying that way."
Before those second-inning fireworks, the teams traded first-inning runs. Cozart hit a one-out double down the line in left and scored on Phillips' single in the hole, just past a diving Placido Polanco at third.
The Marlins' first-inning run was sparked by Pierre, who grounded a double down the first base line. He advanced to third on a groundout to second by Polanco and scored on Dietrich's opposite-field single to left.
The Marlins added a run in the seventh on a Adeiny Hechavarria triple to right-center and a sacrifice fly by Rob Brantly. Hechavarria made a slick slide to avoid a tag on the play.
NOTES: Marlins backup C Jeff Mathis was activated for the first time all season. He broke his collarbone on the second day of spring training when he was hit by a foul ball from Matt Holliday. The Marlins now have three catchers on their big-league roster, including starter Brantly and backup Miguel Olivo. ... Miami 1B Casey Kotchman, who is trying to come back from a hamstring injury, took ground balls with his teammates. He likely will begin a minor league rehab stint in the next few days. ... A headline in Tuesday's Cincinnati Enquirer read: Reds at AAAA Miami. The obvious implication is that the Marlins are less than a major league team and only slightly above Triple-A. ... Reds rookie RF Donald Lutz, who hit his first career homer Sunday, is the first-ever German-developed major-leaguer. He was born in Watertown, N.Y., but was raised in Germany since age 1. ... The Marlins' Nos. 3-4 hitters -- Dietrich and RF Marcell Ozuna -- began the season in Double-A. The same is true with the Reds' Lutz. ... The game drew an announced crowd of 14,694.