Padres top Reds to end 6-game losing streak
Mired in a long slump, the San Diego Padres reverted to the winning formula that worked so well for them early in the season.
Behind the bat of major league home run leader Adrian Gonzalez, timely hitting and a solid outing from Kevin Correia, the Padres ended a six-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.
Gonzalez homered in his fifth straight game, Scott Hairston drove in the go-ahead run in a three-run seventh and Correia became the first Padres starter to win in 26 games.
"It's nice to win; you can take a deep breath and sort of regain some confidence and some momentum," manager Bud Black said.
The win was just the Padres' fifth in 24 games. But it was reminiscent of the kind of victories the club recorded when it got off to a 9-3 start.
"We have to get back to doing that," second baseman David Eckstein said. "It was a good team win, and that's what we have to get back to doing and not trying to do too much."
Gonzalez gave San Diego an early lead with a solo homer in the first, but it took a big seventh inning for the Padres to get back in the win column.
Gonzalez's drive off Aaron Harang (3-4) was his sixth homer during his five-game streak.
Gonzalez, one of the few bright spots for the 14-22 Padres, moved within one of tying the club record for consecutive games with home runs set by Graig Nettles in 1984. Gonzalez, who had five homers and eight RBIs on San Diego's 0-6 road trip, finished 1 for 3 with a walk.
Correia (1-2) allowed three runs and five hits over seven innings to earn his first win with the Padres. The right-hander signed with the team in the offseason.
Correia's win was the first by a Padres starter since Jake Peavy on April 16. San Diego starters were 0-12 during that span. It was also the team's first home win by a starter since Chris Young beat San Francisco 6-1 on April 12.
"This game is based on statistics," Black said. "I didn't really like that one."
Correia had his second strong game after going six innings in his last start at Houston last Saturday, allowing two runs and four hits in a no-decision.
"It's simple. It's staying within my delivery," Correia said. "It resulted in a lower pitch count and that resulted in a win."
Heath Bell retired four batters to pick up his ninth save in nine chances.
Trailing 3-2 in the seventh, Eckstein and his teammates had the sort of inning that has been missing in recent weeks.
Chris Burke reached on a leadoff single, advanced to second on a groundout and took third on Brian Giles' base hit. David Eckstein followed with a tying single into right field despite getting jammed by Harang.
"It was just one of those at-bats where he just got enough on the ball to get it out of the infield," Harang said. "I did what I wanted to do."
Arthur Rhodes replaced Harang and walked Gonzalez on four pitches to load the bases. Hairston then hit a tiebreaking RBI single off David Weathers and Jody Gerut added a sacrifice fly.
"I sent (Harang) back out there in the seventh because he was throwing the ball great," manager Dusty Baker said. "Then he got nickeled and dimed."
Harang, a San Diego native, allowed five runs and eight hits.
Right fielder Giles lost Alex Gonzalez's fifth-inning line drive in the lights, allowing two runs to score and putting Cincinnati ahead 2-1. The play was ruled a double as Giles went to the grass as the ball was sinking. He stuck his glove up as he turned his head and nearly caught it before it hit the ground.
Joey Votto hit his fifth homer in the sixth to put the Reds up 3-1 but Kevin Kouzmanoff got San Diego within one again with an RBI double in the bottom half.
Notes: Adrian Gonzalez, whose shot Friday night came in San Diego's 36th game, did not hit his 15th home run last season until the Padres' 52nd game. ... Cincinnati's Willy Taveras went 0 for 4 to end his 14-game hitting streak. ... Alex Gonzalez started at shortstop for the first time since May 4. Gonzalez missed nine games with a strained left oblique muscle. ... Reds RHP Micah Owings, whose next start was pushed back until Wednesday because of off days, was available for relief work on Friday and will be available on Saturday. Cincinnati RHP Nick Masset (strained side) is unavailable through Saturday.