Reds 8, Padres 3
SAN DIEGO (AP)—The San Diego Padres finally joined the rest of the NL West on the wrong side of .500.
The amazing thing is, they still lead the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks by two games.
The Padres (51-52) have lost 10 of 11 overall and 33 of 51 since June 1, when they were 14 games over .500.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Padres are the first team to lead a division this late in a season with a losing record since the Texas Rangers were on top of the AL West at 52-62 on Aug. 11, 1994. That was the day before the players’ strike began, wiping out the rest of the season.
Padres manager Bruce Bochy put it in perspective.
“We’re very lucky, and we know it,” he said. “We’re fortunate to be in this division, because at this point we know we don’t deserve to be in first place. But we’ve still got to look at it as we are in first place, and we’ll take it.”
The Reds, fifth in the NL Central at 45-58, won three in a row on the road for the first time this season.
Rookie Edwin Encarnacion hit his first career homer and got his first two RBIs. He was called up after the Reds traded third baseman Joe Randa to the Padres last Saturday. Ken Griffey Jr. had two RBIs.
Dunn reached 30 homers for the second straight year. He hit 46 last year.
His first shot went an estimated 423 feet to right field and scored Griffey to cap a three-run third. Dunn’s second went 387 feet and scored Felipe Lopez during a four-run fifth. Both came off Brian Lawrence.
“I thought the ball didn’t fly at Petco,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “When Dunner hits ‘em, it doesn’t matter.”
“I hit them pretty good. Whenever I make good contact, I usually hit ‘em out.”
Griffey doubled in a run in the third and had a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Encarnacion doubled in the fifth for his first career RBI. He homered to left off rookie Craig Breslow with two outs in the seventh.
Dunn, the Reds’ left fielder, sought out the fan who came up with Encarnacion’s home run ball and persuaded him to trade it for another ball.
“It’s one of those things where I know how important it was to him. It was getting late in the game,” Dunn said.
However, the fan wanted Dunn to sign the ball he was swapping.
“I said, ‘Yeah, hurry.’ He threw me a pen and it didn’t work. Then he finally got me one that worked and I signed it,” Dunn said.
Lawrence “just missed his spots and paid for it tonight, obviously to Dunn,” Bochy said. “He did a lot of damage against us tonight.”
Said Lawrence: “The two home run balls, I definitely left them over the middle of the plate.”
Luke Hudson (2-5) got his first win in eight starts, allowing three runs and five hits in five innings. He struck out four and walked four.
Lawrence (5-11) lost his fifth straight decision. He allowed seven runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings, walked four and struck out four.
Dunn became the first Reds player with consecutive 30-homer seasons since Dave Parker hit 34 in 1985 and 31 in 1986. … The last time the Padres were under .500 was May 3, when they were 13-14. … The Padres have lost 10 of Lawrence’s last 12 starts. … Padres C Ramon Hernandez was placed on the 15-day disabled list after undergoing surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left wrist. Hernandez will wear a splint for a week and then begin therapy with the team’s training staff. … The Padres also placed left-handed reliever Chris Hammond on the DL with a strained neck. To fill their roster spots, catcher David Ross was activated and Breslow was recalled from Double-A Mobile. Ross was acquired Thursday in a trade with Pittsburgh.