Facing a Reds bullpen susceptible to the home-run ball, Derek Norris' three-run shot in a four-run sixth helped lift the Padres to a 7-4 victory on Thursday night at Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati and starting pitcher John Lamb carried a 4-2 lead into the pivotal sixth. Lamb walked leadoff batter Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte added a one-out RBI single to left field that ended the left-hander's evening. Reliever JC Ramirez took over and gave up a single to Melvin Upton Jr. before Norris lifted a 1-1 pitch into the left-field seats. It was a Major League-leading 54th homer allowed by the Reds' bullpen this season.
"In the sixth, I think the at-bat to Solarte took a lot out of [Lamb] as well and he did a really nice job of fighting off pitches before he was able to hit something out to left field for a base hit," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "At that point in time, I pretty much was convinced it was time for John to come out of the game. The end result wasn't very good."
Padres starter Christian Friedrich exited with 101 pitches after five innings, four runs and six hits allowed, but he earned the victory. The bullpen provided four scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. Closer Fernando Rodney pitched around a walk in the ninth for his 16th save.
"Obviously first inning, he was great, threw it pretty easily," Padres manager Andy Green said. "Lost some arm-side command of the fastball there for a little bit when he was touched up for the four runs. For me, he needs to get to a point where he understands when that pitch isn't there, it's like spin offspeed, get to the glove side and then he gets back in line. It took too long to make that distinction and make that change, and that's what the four runs came from."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Norris with the go-ahead: After already scoring one in the sixth, Norris took advantage of a two-on, one out situation, driving a go-ahead homer over the left-field wall. The homer, which traveled 343 feet from the plate, according to Statcast™, was his fifth this month. More >
"He's been great," Green said. "He was a guy that going in the season, we were counting on him to be a middle-of-the-order production type guy and I think you see it now."
Duv-All Star?: The Reds had already scored two runs in the third inning when Duvall went to the opposite field on a first pitch from Friedrich for a two-run homer and a 4-1 lead. It moved Duvall into a four-way tie for the Major League lead with 21 homers. He now has four homers and 10 RBIs over his last 10 games.
"Right down the right-field line," Price said of Duvall's latest homer. "It shows a lot of maturity as a hitter, not just trying to yank balls to left field. He's driven balls to right-center field and obviously right down the right-field line tonight. And really just not getting caught up in all the stuff. He's a guy now. People talk about him, he's just going out there and playing baseball."
Upton's wheels: After leading off the second with a single, Upton got a good jump off of Lamb and stole second. An errant throw from catcher Ramon Cabrera allowed Upton to take third on the play as well, and he later scored on a fielder's choice by Alexei Ramirez for the game's first run. Upton went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Lamb labors with leadoff guys: The lefty gave up three earned runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings, but he had three walks and four strikeouts as his pitch count rose to 102. Lamb allowed the leadoff batter to reach in five of the six innings. The first batter of the inning is hitting .404 (19-for-47) vs. Lamb this season, with a .491 on-base percentage.
"It's just continuing to bear down," Lamb said. "Every pitch to me is an important pitch. You never know what the impact of that result in that at-bat will be. For me, it's just make pitches. I didn't really pay attention to the fact there's guys out there five of the six innings. I'm just out there trying to get outs."
VOTTO RETURNS Reds first baseman Joey Votto was missing from the starting lineup for a third straight game while dealing with a stomach bug. Votto did make his first plate appearance since Sunday as a pinch-hitter to begin the ninth inning and struck out vs. Rodney.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres: Right-hander Colin Rea (3-3, 5.02 ERA) will get the ball on Friday at 4:10 p.m. PT in the rematch of this set at Great American Ball Park. Rea will look to build off of a solid 6 1/3-inning, two-run (one earned) performance in his previous start against the Nationals.
Reds: The series continues at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday with left-hander Cody Reed making his home debut for the Reds and his second big league start. Reed struck out nine over seven innings in his debut on Saturday at Houston. Cincinnati will also be celebrating the 40th anniversary of its 1976 World Series championship club, which includes Pete Rose and the current club wearing throwback uniforms.