CINCINNATI – Brandon Phillips is starting to heat up as he clubbed a three-run home run and Johnny Cueto allowed just three hits in his fourth complete-game shutout, second this season, helping the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-0 victory over the San Diego Padres in the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.
Cueto (4-2) is on a roll and should have more than four wins on his belt, as he lowered his major-league leading earned run average to 1.25 with two walks and eight strikeouts. I take back everything I said about him last season, it wasn’t his fault, he was simply not healthy, but this season, he’s 100 %.
It was Cueto’s ninth career complete game, third this season. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his nine starts this season.
Phillips went 2-for-5, including a double, homer and three RBIs, since that day Reds manager Bryan Price gave him a day-off, “dat dude BP” has been ripping the cover off the baseball lately.
San Diego was shut out for the seventh time this season. Cincinnati (18-20) earned its fourth shutout victory.
Cueto retired nine straight batters after right fielder Will Venable’s leadoff bunt single in the first inning and mostly cruised from there.
Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy allowed five earned runs and 11 hits in six innings with a walk and four strikeouts over 101 pitches.
Kennedy pitched around trouble early, stranding runners on second or third in each of the first three innings.
While Kennedy’s pitch count soared to 52 through three innings, Cincinnati went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position to keep the game scoreless.
Cincinnati broke through against Kennedy beginning in the fifth.
With two outs in the fifth, Phillips snapped the scoreless tie when drove a 2-1 pitch from Kennedy into the left field seats, making the score 3-0. It was Phillips’ third home run this season.
Shortstop Zack Cozart snapped an 0-for-15 skid with runners in scoring position with a two-run single in the sixth making the score 5-0.
Go Johnny Go! Both teams will be back on the field in less than two hours, for game two of the doubleheader, Jeff Francis will take the mound for Cincinnati.
First pitch is at 6:10pm, TV: FSN OHIO, RADIO: 700 WLW.