"Everybody knows if you're a starting pitcher you have teams that you don't do as well against," Bailey said. "I knew that I never really did that good against them. You just try to put it behind you and go from there."
Bailey had faced Milwaukee twice already this season, holding an 0-2 record with an 11.74 ERA after giving up a combined 10 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he noticed a significant change in Friday's Bailey compared to the Bailey of earlier this season.
"His fastball, I've seen him have better velocity, but his location, I thought, was real good today," Roenicke said. "He had a really good slider today, down and away, and we weren't picking it up well. I thought there was a big difference [from] the last two times we faced him."
Bailey held the hot bats of the Brewers scoreless through the first seven innings, with the only real threat coming in the opening frame.
Milwaukee had runners at the corners with one out, and the Reds looked in danger of again surrendering a run in the first inning, which they were guilty of in three out of four games against Arizona earlier this week.
Bailey settled in and fanned the next two batters, though, paving the way to tie his career high with the 10 strikeouts.
"[Bailey] had great location on his fastball and late life on his slider, which is hard to pick up," said manager Dusty Baker. "He works at it and he wants to be good. He wants to be very good. He was throwing it well, and especially, he was throwing it at the location he wanted to throw it to."
The Brewers' lone run came in the eighth inning on Norichika Aoki's RBI double off the wall in left, scoring Martin Maldonado from first.
After entering Friday having scored the third-most runs in the National League in July, Milwaukee was stymied by Bailey. The right-hander has now won four consecutive outings, matching his career high.
In those four starts, Bailey is 4-0 with a 1.76 ERA, giving up a combined six earned runs with 27 strikeouts.
"We won, that's all that matters," Bailey said. "If I get the win, I don't care. At the end of the day, it's about this club winning games. When I take the mound, I don't go for wins, I go for our team wins."
The Reds know all about winning recently. They are now a season-high 13 games over .500 and have won nine of their last 11.
Cincinnati is 3-2 with slugger Joey Votto out of the lineup, finding other sources of offense.
Both Zack Cozart and Jay Bruce broke out of their slumps Friday, with Cozart snapping a 1-for-21 skid and Bruce ending his 0-for-19 skid.
Both had multihit games that included home runs, giving Cincinnati its first two runs of the ballgame.
"It feels good," Cozart said. "Especially for me, I've been struggling at the plate. It kind of jump-started us, and obviously Homer, pitching and defense. Even when we had Joey, that was kind of our big thing. Homer showed it again tonight. We pitched and we played defense."
Third baseman Scott Rolen joined the party, cranking his fourth home run of the season two at-bats after Bruce to extend the lead to 3-0.
"That was a great, great win for us," Baker said. "It's great to see guys picking each other up."