Padres 4, Reds 2
CINCINNATI (AP) _ For reasons they can’t explain, the San Diego Padres have the Cincinnati Reds’ number.
The Padres beat the Reds for the sixth time in eight games Tuesday, and once again came away feeling extremely fortunate. Steve Finley scored three runs and Trevor Hoffman pitched out of a bases-loaded threat in the eighth for a 4-2 win and a two-game sweep.
``You’ve got to feel lucky to come in here and take a two-game series from this team,″ said Finley, who had three hits.
It’s not entirely clear why the Padres, who are five games under .500, give one of the National League’s best team such a hard time. No one else has won as many as five games from the Reds.
``They’ve got a great club,″ said Tony Gwynn, who had a pair of hits and drove in a run. ``They’ve got everything you’re looking for: speed, power, defense, pitching, bullpen. But like what happens in baseball sometimes, even though the match-up doesn’t look even on paper, we catch the breaks.″
They maintained their dominance Tuesday even though they had a reliever making his first start of the season and the game eventually came down to a match-up that entirely favored the Reds.
Brian Williams (2-7) allowed four hits and one run over five innings in his first start since July 18 of last year. The reliever went into the rotation as a replacement for Scott Sanders, disabled by elbow tendinitis.
``The key was Williams making a spot start and giving us a tremendous effort,″ manager Bruce Bochy said.
Doug Bochtler pitched into the eighth, leaving with runners on first and third and two out. Hoffman came on and walked Reggie Sanders to load the bases, then struck out Eddie Taubensee to end Cincinnati’s chance to take control.
Taubensee was 3-for-6 against Hoffman this season before that.
``I felt confident, but one pitch changed the complexion of the whole at-bat,″ Taubensee said.
Hoffman went to 1-1, then threw a change-up that caught the inside corner at the knees for a strike. With Taubensee on the defensive, Hoffman went to a 2-2 count before striking him out on another change-up.
``Taubensee has been pretty much owning my number lately,″ Hoffman said. ``I kind of wanted to speed up his bat and slow it down.″
Hoffman gave up Bret Boone’s 12th home run in the ninth but got his 16th save and second in two days.
``Hopefully we won’t have to play the Padres in the playoffs,″ Reds manager Davey Johnson said. ``We just can’t seem to get it going against them.″
The Padres scored three runs in six innings off Tim Pugh (5-3), who has struggled in his last three starts. The right-hander has allowed 13 runs and 23 hits over his last 14 innings.
Finley started rallies that produced three of the Padres’ runs. He led off the game with a single, advanced on Gwynn’s groundout and scored on Phil Plantier’s single up the middle.
Finley singled again with one out in the fifth, stole second on Pugh’s wild pitch and continued on to third on the play, then scored easily on Jody Reed’s sacrifice fly to deep center.
Eddie Williams pushed the lead to 3-1 with his ninth homer in the sixth inning. The Padres added a run in the seventh when Finley and Reed walked with two out and Gwynn singled up the middle on an 0-2 pitch from Chuck McElroy.
Brian Williams pitched out of threats in the first and third, then gave up a run in the fourth when Sanders doubled and came around on Benito Santiago’s one-out single.
Notes: The Reds and Padres face each other one more time this season, in Cincinnati on Sept. 14. ... Finley is 48-for-129 (.372) and has scored 31 runs in 29 games hitting leadoff. ... Reed went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks and a sacrifice fly, ending his hitting streak at eight games. ... Pugh is 4-3 in his 10 starts. ... Brian Williams had made 30 relief appearances this season. ... Barry Larkin has hit safely in a season-high 13 consecutive games. ... Sanders doubled in two at-bats against Williams, leaving him 8-for-11 career off the right-hander. Sanders also has a 10-game hitting streak. ... The Reds signed pitcher Frank Viola to a minor-league contract. Viola, 35, is trying to come back from reconstructive elbow surgery.