SAN DIEGO (AP) — Brandon Finnegan made some adjustments after his last start. The changes worked against the San Diego Padres.
Finnegan incorporated a changeup into his repertoire and pitched six scoreless innings as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Padres 6-0 on Friday night.
“I was just throwing a fastball and slider and it’s not too hard to hit that — a starter throwing two pitches,” Finnegan said. “It got to the point where I was cutting (the changeup) and it was like a second slider.
“We fiddled around with it and in my last bullpen it was nothing but fastballs and changeups. We changed the grip and I was able to command it.”
Eugenio Suarez tied a career-high with four RBIs to back Finnegan and two Reds relievers. Suarez had a run-scoring double and single to pace the Reds to their third victory in four games as the Padres were blanked for 12th time this season, tops in the majors.
Michael Lorenzen and Blake Wood worked the final three innings to preserve the shutout.
Reds manager Bryan Price had no qualms about pulling Finnegan.
“It was six innings, 90 pitches and it was a feel-good game,” Price said of Finnegan’s outing. “And our bullpen was rested.
San Diego, which grounded into four double plays, also had its 25-game home run streak snapped that tied the National League record set by the 1998 Braves.
“I’m glad we ended it,” Finnegan said.
Finnegan (6-8) scattered four hits and sidestepped a few early jams before settling in. He walked three, but he struck out five in recording his third win in his last four decisions.
San Diego’s Edwin Jackson (1-1) gave up six runs and 10 hits in five innings. The Reds struck fast, nicking Jackson for four runs in the first inning.
“Essentially the first inning came down to execution of a couple of pitches,” Jackson said. “You take away a couple of pitches out of the first inning, it’s a whole different ballgame.”
Zack Cozart’s one-out double started the rally. Rookie left fielder Alex Dickerson, who had homered in four straight games, collided with centerfielder Travis Jankowski on Cozart’s drive into left-center and was forced to leave the game with a right hip contusion.
The roughly 10-minute delay to attend to Dickerson wasn’t used as an alibi by Jackson.
“It’s easy to make excuses,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day it’s all about execution. I left a couple of balls over the plate when I had chances to put people away, and I paid for it.”
Padres manager Andy Green agreed.
“I thought the first inning he was over the middle of the plate, a little more than he cared to be,” Green said. “The next three innings he sailed pretty cleanly.”
Cozart scored on Jay Bruce’s sacrifice fly. Phillips followed with an RBI single and Suarez chased in two more with a double to left-center for a 4-0 advantage.
In Jackson’s final inning, the Reds tacked on two runs for a 6-0 advantage. Suarez notched a two-RBI single that scored Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, both aboard via hits.
The Padres had a chance to cut into their 4-0 deficit in the second inning when loading the bases with two outs. But Derek Norris lined out to Suarez at third to end the threat.
It was among the fine defensive plays the Reds turned in behind Finnegan.
“A couple of innings the outs came easy and in the other ones they didn’t,” Price said. “The double-play ball was what bailed him out and some of those were well-hit balls. But he was able to stay away from the big inning and he didn’t allow the Padres to get back into the game.”
Not with Finnegan’s improved changeup back on track.
“We messed around with it and the one I’m throwing now is working,” he said. “Hopefully we can keep it that way.”
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey (right elbow) will exit the disabled list and start on Sunday against the Padres.
Padres: RHP Tyson Ross (right shoulder, left ankle) continues to play catch, but there’s no timetable for him to resume throwing from the mound.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (6-0, 3.09) looks to win his fourth start of the second half when facing the Padres for the second time this season. He threw a career-high eight innings and allowed but five hits when beating San Diego on June 26.
Padres: LHP Christian Friedrich (4-6, 5.00) has quickly become one of the rotation’s senior members after a flurry of trades. Friedrich is trying to rebound from a rocky outing in which he was charged with five runs and six hits against the Nationals on Sunday.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.