Reds 11, Padres 5
Pena homered twice and drove in four runs, helping the Reds beat the San Diego Padres 11-5 on Saturday night.
“I don’t know how I feel,” Pena said. “The more I play, the more confidence I get.”
Pena entered the season with a .219 career batting average, six homers and 17 RBIs in 93 games with the Reds. But Pena has gotten increased playing time this season because of injuries to Ken Griffey Jr., who is out for the season with a torn hamstring.
Pena is hitting .263 with 21 homers and 56 RBIs this year.
“He’s worked hard, to his credit,” San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s made himself into some kind of player. He’s turned himself into a dangerous hitter.”
Pena and Darren Bragg hit home runs on back-to-back pitches from Brian Lawrence to spark a six-run sixth inning that wiped out San Diego’s 5-2 lead. In the next inning, Pena followed Adam Dunn’s major league-leading 36th homer of the season with his 21st on consecutive pitches from Rod Beck.
“Those were two big home runs for us,” manager Dave Miley said. “Everybody pitched in. That’s what we’ve got to do.”
Bragg, who just joined the Reds on Thursday, went 3-for-3 and fell a triple short of the cycle against his former team. He was 1-for-11 coming in, including 1-for-7 in nine games with the Padres.
San Diego was knocked out of a share of the NL wild-card lead with the loss and Chicago’s victory over Los Angeles earlier in the day. The Padres remain 6 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the West.
“We got some runs early,” Bochy said. “They kept it close enough. They got the big inning and we didn’t.”
San Diego led 5-2 in the sixth when Pena followed inning-opening singles by Sean Casey and Dunn with his 20th homer. Bragg hit Lawrence’s next pitch into the right-field bleachers to give the Reds a 6-5 lead.
“He was doing pretty good,” Bochy said. “He was pitching well. You have confidence that he’ll get a groundball there. He hung a slider to Wily Mo, but it’s just a tie game. The big inning killed us.”
Lawrence (11-10) gave up a season-high six runs and matched his season high by allowing 10 hits. He didn’t walk anybody and had four strikeouts while losing his third consecutive start and suffering his fifth loss in six decisions over seven starts.
“Two singles and a home run,” Lawrence said. “Casey’s was a ball that wasn’t hit particularly hard but found a hole. Pena hit a slider. I didn’t want to throw it outside so he could get his arms extended. I left it up. It hung a little. It was one of those things.”
The Reds, who matched their season high with 16 hits, added an unearned run on two Padres errors in the eighth inning.
Reds right-hander Paul Wilson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with lower back soreness, and RHP Joe Valentine was recalled from Triple-A Louisville. … Acevedo’s start was his first since Aug. 4. He’d been skipped over because of inconsistency and a schedule that allowed the Reds to go with a four-man rotation … Lopez’s double extended his career-high hitting streak to nine games … Padres catcher Ramon Hernandez flew to San Diego on Saturday after his wife went into labor … San Diego second baseman Mark Loretta celebrated his 33rd birthday Saturday.