San Diego manager Andy Green watched Kirby Yates, his All-Star closer, do what he has done much of the year on Monday night, and when the dust settled on a 3-2 Padres victory, Green sprinkled one word throughout his postgame conversation: clutch.
Yates surrendered three consecutive ninth-inning hits for a run but worked out of a jam by getting a fielder's choice at home and striking out Cincinnati slugger Eugenio Suarez with the bases loaded to seal his third save in three games.
"He's clutch; that's three days in a row," Green said. "(Sunday), even though it was 1-2-3 (against the Phillies), it was 27 pitches, and every at-bat was a fight.
"The best thing about him is it doesn't matter how high-stress the situation is. He still settles in and still makes big pitches. (Suarez) is a really good hitter, probably the guy they'd choose to have up in that moment, and to punch him out to end the game is clutch. That's Kirby."
Green's Padres will play in the second game of the three-game series Tuesday night at Cincinnati.
Padres starter Cal Quantrill (6-3, 3.23 ERA) has been nothing short of outstanding since the middle of July.
Quantrill, 24, sports a 4-1 record with a 1.31 ERA in his past six starts dating back to a July 14 outing against Atlanta when he fired six scoreless innings of no-decision in San Diego's 4-1 home loss to the first-place Braves. He has been on a roll ever since.
Cincinnati's Sonny Gray (8-6, 2.98 ERA) is also looking to maintain a recent run of success on Tuesday.
The right-hander has delivered some of the best innings of his seven-year career and has cruised through opposing lineups since late June. He currently holds a career-best streak of 18 scoreless innings.
Gray is 5-1 with a 1.59 ERA starting with his June 28 outing, when he delivered 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball against the Chicago Cubs in a 6-3 home victory.
In his last start against St. Louis on Thursday, Gray gave up just one hit to the first-place Cardinals in five shutout innings and struck out 10, his second double-digit strikeout performance this season, with both coming in his past eight starts. Gray will make his first career appearance against the Padres.
Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart said Gray's command has been a key to keeping teams without a run in August.
"He's throwing so many strikes," Barnhart said. "I think that keeps guys on the defensive from the start. Obviously, everybody knows how good his breaking ball is.
"From a hitter's perspective, when you're facing him, you don't want to get behind. When he's able to get ahead like that, he's able to put you away pretty quickly."
The Reds will get some help in the bullpen on Tuesday to support Gray in their effort to even the series with the Padres.
Left-handed reliever Amir Garrett will return from his eight-game suspension assessed for his role in a brawl against the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 30 at Cincinnati.
--Field Level Media