Cingrani, Ohlendorf sharing closing duties

Cingrani, Ohlendorf sharing closing duties

DENVER -- One benefit of John Lamb's seven-inning start for the Reds in Wednesday's 7-2 win over the Rockies was it meant the bullpen needed to get just six outs. It's a luxury manager Bryan Price hasn't had very often this season.

"That's how you win a lot of games in succession," Price said on Thursday. "Seven-inning starts and limit what your bullpen has to do. Then have fresh arms for the last six outs."

Tony Cingrani, who issued a walk and made a throwing error for an unearned run, pitched the eighth. Ross Ohlendorf handled a one-hit scoreless ninth in a non-save situation. Cingrani hasn't had a smooth road trip, but Ohlendorf's outing was his sixth straight without allowing a run. In that stretch, there have been no walks and six strikeouts.

However, Price has not defined Cingrani for the eighth and Ohlendorf for the ninth full time.

"It's mix and match," Price said. "I'm not really uncomfortable with either of them in the eighth or ninth. I just try to do my best to define the matchups."

Using the left-handed Cingrani in the eighth on Wednesday enabled him to face three lefty hitters in Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez and Daniel Descalso. The right-handed Ohlendorf faced four batters with one lefty in Gerardo Parra.

"I have one left-hander [in the bullpen]," Price said. "If I had multiple left-handers, I might be able to deem Tony or Ross a closer, but at this point in time, it's not closer by committee, the committee is two men. It's a two-man committee."

Worth noting

Brandon Phillips returned to the lineup Thursday after missing two games because of a sore left ankle. Price held off on posting a starting lineup until Phillips was cleared after successfully completing some agility drills in the outfield. In an uncommon move, he sent two different lineup cards to the Rockies and opposing manager Walt Weiss -- one with Phillips and one without so they could be prepared.

"It's a courtesy, because I think so highly of Walt Weiss. I'm not trying to be mysterious here," Price said.

Some managers might leave their counterpart in the dark, however.

"No doubt, and there are probably some other managers I would do that to myself," Price said. "Walt isn't one of them."

• Pitcher Homer Bailey (Tommy John surgery rehab) has been throwing from flat ground without issue for a couple of weeks. Bailey is expected to throw from a mound in the bullpen this weekend. Price said he would likely need at least eight mound sessions before being cleared to try another Minor League rehab assignment. Bailey's previous rehab assignment was ended in late April after a setback.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.