Padres can't slow down surging Reds
ASSOCIATED PRESS  |
Published: Thursday, August 02, 2012, 1:14pm
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Ross Ohlendorf put the Padres in a position they couldn't overcome.
The Reds chased Ohlendorf while sending 12 batters to the plate during a six-run second inning, and that was enough to back Johnny Cueto and help Cincinnati beat San Diego 9-4 Thursday.
Scott Rolen started the big inning with an infield hit and Todd Frazier followed with his 13th homer and second in three games, a 408-foot drive into the left field seats.
"The hole was too deep," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "Then they punched through a couple more and Cueto got stronger as the game went on."
San Diego catcher Eddy Rodriguez enjoyed a memorable major league debut, hitting a home run in his first plate appearance.
Rodriguez was called up Tuesday to replace Yasmani Grandal, who was sidelined with a strained oblique.
Rodriguez, a former Reds minor leaguer who also has played in independent leagues, smacked a 1-2 pitch 416 feet into the left field seats for the first home run allowed by Cueto in 80 innings -- the longest stretch in the majors this season -- over 11 starts since Colorado's Todd Helton homered on May 25 in Cincinnati. The homer was the first by a right-hander allowed by Cueto since Washington's Ryan Zimmerman hit one on Aug. 17, 2011, a span of 169 innings.
The 26-year old catcher was a former teammate of Cueto's in the Reds' system.
Released by the Reds after two seasons, Rodriguez fought his way back through independent leagues to replace Grandal. Both played baseball at the University of Miami.
"Isn't that great," Black said. "We had Eddie in major league camp this spring. He's a very solid defensive catcher. That's why he's here. It is something he will remember the rest of his life. A lot of us will remember it. That's why you come to the ball park because you might see something like that."
"It was amazing. It was everything, more than I expected. The goal at the end is to get a `W' but it was a great experience, something that I will remember for the rest of my life," Rodriguez said.
An emotional Rodriguez reflected on his path to the big leagues and grinding through the minor and independent leagues after his release by the Reds.
"It just made this moment more gratifying," Rodriguez said. "It's been a long road. I've always had the support of my family and my mom when you're playing independent ball. You're trying to get here and play in front of fans. I was very blessed to get the call to come here. I came up with Johnny through the Reds. I blacked out after hitting the ball. I didn't think about it until the next inning. All I could think about was all the hard work to get here."
The surging Reds won for the 13th time in 14 games.
Rolen had three hits, Frazier had three RBIs and Jay Bruce drove in two runs, helping push the Reds to 23 games over .500 (64-41) for the first time since Sept. 4, 2010.
The Reds took three of four from San Diego and have won 20 of 23. They are 14-3 since All-Star first baseman Joey Votto left the lineup with a knee injury that required surgery and have won two straight since star second baseman Brandon Phillips was sidelined with a strained left calf.
Cueto (14-5), who gave up home runs for the first time in more than two months, allowed eight hits and four runs with one walk and nine strikeouts in 7 1-3 innings.
Ryan Hanigan added an RBI double and Bruce had a bases-loaded, two-run single. Ohlendorf (3-2) also was called for a run-scoring balk before leaving after just 1 2-3 innings, the shortest outing by a San Diego starter this season.
"The bats couldn't have picked a better time to show up, manager Dusty Baker said. "We needed it," he said. "(The Padres) scored a lot of runs. They came in here swinging the bats good. You do what you need to do to score at least one more run than them."
Chase Headley cut Cincinnati's lead in half with a two-run single later in the inning, and Cameron Maybin added his sixth homer, a 423-foot solo shot to left with one out in the fourth inning. But the Reds increased their lead to 8-4 on RBI singles by Rolen and Zack Cozart in the bottom of the inning.
"I like the way we swung the bats," Black said. "We've got to get to that point that we put pressure on the opposition every inning. That's every team's challenge. I do like the fact that, when we've gotten behind, we do come back. We have to sustain innings to score some runs, but there was the other end. Cueto is 14-5 for a reason."
NOTES: The two teams combined to scored 52 runs in the four-game series, 35 by the Reds. ... For the second time in four games, the Padres set a season high for hits and runs allowed in one inning. They gave up five of each in the third inning of Tuesday's game they ended up losing 7-6. ... San Diego went 3-7 on their fourth road trip of 10 or more games this season. The Padres open a six-game homestand Friday with the first of three against the Mets. ... Reds RHP Nick Masset was scheduled to pitch an inning for Class-A Dayton during a rehab assignment. Masset has been on the disabled list since spring training with a sprained right shoulder.