SAN DIEGO (AP) Padres manager Bud Black had talked to Tyson Ross once or twice that it was getting to be time that the lanky right-hander threw his first career shutout.
In his 55th career start, Ross got it, in dominating fashion.
Ross threw a three-hitter for his first career shutout, struck out nine and walked none to help San Diego beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-0 Wednesday for its first series sweep since September. Ross got all the support he needed when Rene Rivera hit a three-run single off big league ERA leader Johnny Cueto in the first inning.
”It’s special,” said the 27-year-old Ross, who’s in his second season with San Diego. ”It’s the first time I’ve been able to finish. A couple of games I’ve gone eight innings and kind of ran out of gas but tonight I had enough in the tank and was able to finish.”
Ross (7-8) was dominating. He retired the first 11 batters before Todd Frazier singled to left. Frazier had two of the Reds’ three hits. Only Reds batter reached second, when Brayan Pena doubled with one out in the eighth. Ross then retired the side.
”I think that he really smelled the finish line, which was good,” Black said. ”He’s been close a couple of times. He was there today. We talked just briefly after the eighth inning. There was no doubt in my mind he was going to go back out there and put up a zero.
`’It’s a tremendous feather in his cap,” said Black, a lefty who had 12 shutouts in 296 career big league starts. ”You do it once, you can do it many more times. Good for him.”
Ross said getting the complete game was due to ”being efficient early. I had a lot of ground balls, a lot of outs in the first three pitches to hitters. I kept the pitch count low early and that allowed me to finish it off later.”
Frazier said Ross ”had a pretty good slider. I think that’s his best pitch. He kept most of us off-balance. We hit the ball hard sometimes. A couple of guys squared some up. To me, he just made a couple of mistakes. A good pitcher, when he makes mistakes, you have to take care of the business.”
The Reds lost the last three games on 10-game trip after winning six of seven, including a four-game sweep of the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants before coming to San Diego.
”A frustrating team in general in that we came in playing really well and come out of it losing three straight,” manager Bryan Price said. ”We had a chance to make up some ground on Milwaukee and St. Louis and we weren’t able to take advantage of it.”
The Padres beat the Reds 1-0 Monday despite getting one hit, and then had a season-high 16 hits in an 8-2 victory Tuesday night.
The Padres, who tied their season high with their fourth straight win, hadn’t swept a series since Sept. 6-8 against Colorado.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the first, Rivera hit a blooper to the gap that hit off the heel of the glove of diving center fielder Billy Hamilton and rolled away to give San Diego a 3-0 lead.
San Diego appeared to take a 4-0 lead on Seth Smith’s two-out double in the fourth, but the Reds appealed that Irving Falu missed third base. The umpires agreed, calling Falu out to end the inning. San Diego manager Bud Black argued, but the call was upheld on appeal.
Ross had received only one run of support in his previous five starts, and he knocked in that run in his last start, a 2-1 loss to Arizona. Ross was 0-4 in his last five starts.
Cueto (8-6) came in with the best ERA in the majors, 1.88. It rose to 1.99. He allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings, struck out eight and walked three.
NOTES: The Reds were swept for the first time since April 25-27. … The Padres placed SS Everth Cabrera on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, retroactive to Tuesday, and selected INF Brooks Conrad from Triple-A El Paso. Conrad is from San Diego. … To make room on the 40-man roster, LHP Troy Patton was transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. … Padres OF Seth Smith signed a $13 million, two-year contract extension that runs through 2016, with a team option for 2017. … The Padres are off Thursday before opening a three-game series against San Francisco on Friday, when LHP Eric Stults (2-11, 5.36) is scheduled to oppose RHP Matt Cain (1-6, 4.38). … The Reds are off Thursday before opening a three-game home series against Milwaukee on Friday, when RHP Alfredo Simon (10-3, 2.81) is scheduled to start against RHP Kyle Lohse (9-2, 3.08).