Reds 6, Padres 2
SAN DIEGO (AP)—The sunburn was worth it to Rich Aurilia.
Aurilia tied his career high with four hits, including a homer, and Bronson Arroyo kept San Diego off-balance for seven innings.
“I think it helped that I laid on the beach yesterday,” Aurilia said, even though he was sunburned on his forehead and right arm.
“We needed a a day to just step back and reflect. We were terrible. We’re fortunate to be where we are right now. So is everybody else. Nobody’s running away with this thing except the Mets. We’re lucky to be where we are, and now we need to take advantage of it.”
The Padres saw their lead in the NL wild-card race shrink to a half-game over the Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies, whose game against Atlanta was rained out. San Diego, which dropped to 33-37 at home, fell four games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West race. The Reds are five games behind St. Louis in the Central Division.
Arroyo allowed four hits in seven innings to win for only the second time since June 19. The Reds snapped their skid in time to avoid dropping below .500 for the first time since opening day.
Arroyo (11-9) got enough run support before the Padres even had a baserunner, with the Reds taking a 4-0 lead off Clay Hensley (8-11) after three innings. Three of the first four runs scored on two-out hits.
Aurilia homered leading off the second, his 20th. He drove a 2-2 pitch off the balcony on the third floor of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building just beyond the left-field corner.
Hensley had allowed only one earned run in his previous 21 innings.
Arroyo retired the first 11 Padres batters before Todd Walker singled to center in the fourth.
“We’re in September already and these guys took over the lead in the wild card from us, so this was probably as big a game as we’ve had in a while,” Arroyo said.
“I was hitting my spots with all my pitches,” he said. “These guys are pretty aggressive. They gave me some easy outs and they also hit some hard balls right at people.”
The Padres finally broke through against the right-hander in the fifth, scoring two runs on three hits and two walks. Russell Branyan hit a leadoff single and scored on Mike Cameron’s double to the base of the center-field fence. Cameron scored on Dave Roberts’ two-out single. Walker came up with the bases loaded but flied out to center field to end the inning.
Arroyo “had us buffaloed there for a while,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “And Clay was a little bit off today. We did get back in the game, but we couldn’t hold them and they swung it well tonight.”
Arroyo struck out four and walked three. Hensley allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings, struck out two and walked two.
Hensley said he had poor command of his fastball.
“I just couldn’t find the groove on it,” he said.
It was the 18th time in his career Aurilia had four hits. Aurilia, who turns 35 on Saturday, is 10-for-30 on this road trip and is hitting .341 (47-for-138) with nine homers and 21 RBIs since the All-Star break. … Padres RH reliever Rudy Seanez, with the Padres for the record fourth time in his career, pitched the eighth. He was signed Thursday after being designated for assignment by Boston on Aug. 18.