23 games over .500
The Three Stars from the Reds 9-4 victory over the Padres that made it three of four in the series, 13 out of their last 14 and 20 of the last 23.
No. 3 star: Johnny Cueto — 7.1 ip, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 1 HR. Cueto, now 14-5 with a 2.52 ERA, wasn’t overly sharp in his latest start but he did some nice bullpen preservation work by gettng into the eighth inning. Given a 6-0 lead in the second, Cueto gave up three runs right away in the third…partially because a double play wasn’t converted that would have gotten him out of the inning.
“Johnny pitched well,” catcher Ryan Hanigan said. “He wasn’t as dominant as he can be. He left his breaking ball up a few times and got hit. For the most part, he managed the game. The run support help.”
No. 2 star: Jay Bruce — 2-for-4, 2 RBIs. Bruce’s two-run single with the bases loaded came during the big second inning. Has anyone noticed that Bruce’s bat has come alive lately? He’s got a five-game hitting streak where he’s 7-for-16 (.438) with four RBIs.
No. 1 star: Todd Frazier — 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBIs. Frazier’s two-run homer, his 13th of his rookie season, got the Reds on the scoreboard in the second inning. He added another RBI on a fielder’s choice in the eighth. He has homered in back-to-back games and three of the last five.
“Everybody contributed and we batted around the order,” Frazier said. “You can see everybody is having fun and doing what they have to do. You need to know your role. When everybody knows their role, it’s fun to watch.”
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News and notes:
*The six-run second inning tied a Reds season-high for most runs in one inning. Not a bad day for a lineup missing Votto, Phillips and Ludwick.
*The Reds are now a Major League best 64-41. A win over the Pirates on Friday can put them better than 23 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1999 season.
*Cueto gave up the first hit of Eddy Rodriguez’s career in the third inning, which happened to be a solo home run. It ended a streak of 11 starts and 80 innings without allowing a homer by Cueto, the longest homerless streak in the Major Leagues this season. It was the longest by a Reds pitcher since Bruce Berenyi threw 85 1/3 homerless innings from June 19-Aug. 24, 1982.
*The Pirates changed their rotation for the upcoming series. A.J. Burnett, and not Erik Bedard, will start on Sunday for Pittsburgh.
*The Reds released RHP Brett Tomko, who had pitched all season at Triple-A Louisville.
“Things are going well right now. Guys are playing loose, taking real aggressive swings on pitches in the zone. Nothing surprises me with what we can do, especially when we’re playing like this. We’ve got some momentum obviously. We expect to score runs and expect to get outs. It’s a good feeling. We’re having fun. Things are rolling. We’ve got a long way to go here but we’re in a good spot right now.” — Ryan Hanigan