Fresh off their four-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants, the Cincinnati Reds rolled into San Diego on Monday night on a wave of untouchable pitching, timely hitting, and overall excitement. Unfortunately for the Reds and their fans, only one part of that formula held up in the first of three games, as Cincinnati fell to the Padres, 1-0, despite allowing only one hit on the night.
Reds’ starter Mat Latos allowed just two baserunners (hit and walk) through seven innings while striking out four, but allowed Tommy Medica to score in the fifth on a single, stolen base, and two sacrifices. That was all the Padres needed, as the Padres limited the Reds’ offense to just five hits and two walks. The Padres also corralled Reds batters for 12 strikeouts, including nine by starter Jesse Hahn in five innings.
As I watched this game unfold, I was struck by the similarity to the Giants series, in that the Reds found themselves locked in a tight pitchers’ battle through the middle innings. I kept expecting (hoping?) that the batters would break out late as they had done in the games against San Francisco, but they ran out of time on this night. Catcher Devin Mesoraco was the offensive “star” with a double in two at-bats.
One bright spot, aside from Latos continued strong return from injury, was that closer Aroldis Chapman got another night of rest after a run of four consecutive appearances.