Birthday boys Bailey, Dempster make history

Birthday boys Bailey, Dempster make history

CINCINNATI -- For the first time in the history of the Majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, opposing starting pitchers were both celebrating their birthday when the Reds' Homer Bailey faced the Cubs' Ryan Dempster on Thursday.

Bailey turned 26, while Dempster was 35.

"I found out [after the game] when I was in the training room, and the Hall of Fame came in with some baseballs we were asked to sign," Bailey said. "It's pretty neat. I guess if you're going to be in Cooperstown, there was worse ways you can be in there."

Bailey noted there were four balls signed -- one for himself, one for Dempster, one for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and one for the Reds Hall of Fame.

Only one birthday boy could fully enjoy the day, however, since the Reds took a 4-3 victory in 10 innings on Scott Rolen's walk-off sacrifice fly that scored Zack Cozart. It was particularly heartbreaking for Dempster, who pitched eight scoreless innings with three hits allowed during a brilliant outing. He left with a 3-0 lead.

Wild-throwing Cubs closer Carlos Marmol let the Reds get back into the game with a three-run ninth before the game-winning run crossed in the 10th. It gave both starting pitchers no-decisions.

"I can't believe it's the first time in baseball history two guys started against each other on their birthday," Dempster said. "That's something neat to take from today, if you're going to look for the positives."

Bailey pitched six innings and allowed three runs on nine hits, while walking one intentionally and striking out four. He gave up three solo home runs that gave Chicago the lead, but he survived a bases-loaded one-out threat in the sixth to keep his team within striking distance.

"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."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.