"It didn't look good there for a while, but Homer and the staff kept us right there and kept us in range," said Scott Rolen, whose sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th scored Zack Cozart with the game-winner. "After you come back and tie the game, kind of the only thing left is to finish it. That was a nice win for us. I don't think it would have been a very happy flight to Pittsburgh the way those first eight [innings] went."
Marmol's wildness and two errors over the final two innings changed everything.
It was a 3-0 game in the ninth when Willie Harris, who was 3-for-33 on the season, drew a walk on five pitches from Marmol. It was followed by a four-pitch walk to Joey Votto.
Brandon Phillips bounced a potential double-play grounder to third base that was flubbed for an error by Ian Stewart, allowing Harris to score. Jay Bruce lined a single into right field that loaded the bases with no outs. It got even tenser when Ryan Ludwick drew a full-count walk that scored Votto to make it a one-run game. Marmol, who retired the side in order for a save on Wednesday, was pulled in favor of rookie Rafael Dolis.
Devin Mesoraco grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, but it was enough to get Phillips home with the tying run to force extras.
"You lose a game like that, I'm embarrassed right now," Marmol said.
In the bottom of the 10th inning against Dolis, Cozart rolled a leadoff single up the middle. Chris Heisey followed with a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher, but Dolis made an error on the throw that left Heisey safe, with Cozart alertly moving to third base as the ball rolled toward second base.
That enabled Rolen to line a drive to right field. Cozart scored easily ahead of a desperation heave from David DeJesus that came nowhere close to the plate. Both Rolen and Cozart, regulars who were not in the starting lineup, entered the game defensively in the top of the 10th. Cozart made a nice diving stop on a Darwin Barney leadoff grounder to take away a hit.
"You're just sitting there because you're just sitting there, and all of a sudden, we get some people on," Cozart said. "[Reds manager] Dusty [Baker] says, 'Get ready to run, get ready to hit and oh, you're going in at shortstop.' There's a lot of different stuff you have to do."
The 12-12 Reds split two games with the Cubs after Tuesday's rainout and finished the homestand at 5-3 before beginning a six-game road trip to Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.
"Boy, that was huge. Real big," Baker said. "5-3 at home sounds a lot better than 4-4, especially going on the road. Hopefully, we can have a great road trip."
Bailey pitched six innings and allowed three runs -- all on solo home runs. He also gave up nine hits, while walking one intentionally and striking out four. The right-hander also survived an important bases-loaded one-out threat in the sixth to keep the game from getting away.
Relievers Jose Arredondo, Aroldis Chapman, Sean Marshall and Logan Ondrusek followed with one inning each.
"Our guys battled today very well," said Ondrusek, who earned the victory with a scoreless 10th. "As you could see, if we can keep it close, we can do anything."
For most of the day, the combined Reds pitching effort appeared to be no match for Dempster, who gave up just three hits -- two of them by Votto.
"We won," Bailey said. "That's what is most important, whether I get the win or someone else gets the win."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time in Major League history that two starting pitchers faced each other on their birthday.
"I'm sure we both wanted to win for our birthday," Bailey said. "Hard luck running into him throwing a good game today, and we still got away with a win."