Reds 2, Padres 1, 12 innings
SAN DIEGO (AP)—The Cincinnati Reds are hoping one timely homer will reverse their recent struggles.
Griffey hit his eighth of the season and career homer No. 571 off Heath Bell (0-2) on a full-count fastball. Griffey, who had never faced Bell before, has hit all of his home runs this season in the last 18 games.
The Reds won for just the third time in 14 games and also broke a six-game road losing streak, including four straight on this trip.
“It was bound to happen,” Griffey said of the streak-busting win. “You have to just keep playing. The season doesn’t stop because your losing.”
David Weathers (1-2) pitched three perfect innings to get the win and finish off the two-hitter.
Griffey’s big hit came after the Padres tied it in the eighth on a balk by Cincinnati’s Aaron Harang, who allowed just two hits, walked four and struck seven in nine innings.
“It was a big win for us, no doubt,” Harang said. “We needed something to get us going in the right direction, and hopefully this will do it.”
With runners on second and third in the eighth, Harang caught his spikes in the dirt as he was delivering a pitch. He attempted to throw the ball, but lost his balance and was called for the balk, allowing pinch-hitter Geoff Blum to score from third base to tie it at 1.
“That’s the last possible thing that you expect to happen in that situation,” said Harang, a San Diego native. “It’s tough when it happens. You can’t let your emotions get the best of you.”
David Wells kept San Diego in the game by shutting down the Reds over a season-high eight innings. He gave up one run and seven hits, struck out five and walked none.
Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a fourth-inning double for Cincinnati.
Harang came in with a 3-0 record in his hometown, including two wins at Petco Park. He is 3-1 against the Padres overall.
“(Harang) comes at you with good stuff and he’s deceptive,” San Diego manager Bud Black said.
The Reds scored in the sixth after a leadoff infield single by Josh Hamilton and a single by Chad Moeller. After Harang forced Hamilton at third on a sacrifice bunt attempt, Ryan Freel blooped a double down the right-field line, scoring Moeller. Wells got out of further trouble with a pair of groundouts.
Harang entered the matchup with the Padres with the best run support in the NL at 8.64 runs per game. But after allowing five runs in each of his last three starts, Harang was stingy against the Padres.
Wells lasted past the sixth inning for the first time in five starts. The left-hander had allowed 17 runs in his last four starts.
Griffey’s homer was the first allowed by San Diego in 10 games.
“He’s hit home runs off 300, 400 pitchers,” Bell said. “It stinks to be one of them. I threw it where I wanted it, he just got the better of it.”
Harang’s streak of not allowing more than three walks was snapped at 88 games. … Wells was the last Padres pitcher to allow a home run before Griffey’s drive, giving up one to Florida’s Cody Ross on May 5.