De La Cruz homers and Lodolo strikes out 11 in a combined 4-hitter as the Reds beat Padres 5-2


SAN DIEGO — Elly De La Cruz’s 443-foot home run into the bullpen sent a few Padres relievers scrambling out of the way, and Nick Lodolo combined with two relievers on a four-hitter and struck out 11 as the Cincinnati Reds beat San Diego 5-2 on Monday night.

The Reds retired 23 straight batters from the second inning into the ninth and had a combined one-hitter going into the final frame.

Lodolo (3-0) retired his final 18 batters after issuing consecutive walks to open the second inning. Fernando Cruz pitched a perfect eighth and Alex Díaz retired the first two batters of the ninth before Jake Cronenworth doubled and scored on Manny Machado’s single. Xander Bogaerts singled before Ha-Seong Kim struck out.

If Cronenworth hadn’t gotten the hit, it would have been the first time in Padres history that a leadoff homer was their only hit.

“It felt good. I definitely got synced up there, especially after that second inning,” Lodolo said. “It’s pretty good.”

Lodolo was making his fourth start of the season. He missed the last 4 1/2 months of last season with a stress reaction in his left tibia.

“It’s just about me getting in rhythm,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of stuff to put me in a good spot to succeed. I feel confident and overall my work leading into a start now is a lot better than it used to be.”

The Padres have lost a season-high five games, a streak that started Thursday when they blew a 9-4 lead in the eighth inning at Colorado and lost 10-9. They were swept during the weekend by the Philadelphia Phillies, who hit nine home runs.

De La Cruz got this series going with an impressive homer with one out in the first. Knuckleballer Matt Waldron (1-3) struck out Will Benson on three pitches and got ahead of De La Cruz at 0-2. Batting lefty against the righty, the 22-year-old star drove a 91 mph sinker to left-center, where it bounced out of the Padres’ bullpen and flew over the Reds’ bullpen to a row of seats at the back of the ballpark.

With eight homers and 17 stolen bases in April, De La Cruz became the sixth player since at least 1901 to record seven homers and 15 steals in a calendar month.

The Padres tied it on Jurickson Profar’s leadoff homer, his fourth. But the Reds regained the lead in the second on a single, a double, Santiago Espinal’s sacrifice fly and Waldron’s balk. Benson hit a leadoff double in the third and scored on Spencer Steer’s one-out double.

Lodolo walked Xander Bogaerts and Ha-Seong Kim opening the second, but then struck out the side. He then cruised through five perfect innings.

“He was outstanding. Give him a lot of credit. He has such a good feel for how his body works,” said manager David Bell, who added that pitching coach Derek Johnson noticed something early. “Nick was able to make the adjustment on the fly. It says a lot about his level of confidence and understanding in what he needs to do to be successful. After that, it was just great. Great fastball, started with that. Used his changeup, really good curveball. Just a great mix of pitches.”

Waldron allowed six runs and four hits in six innings, struck out four and walked none.

UP NEXT

Reds RHP Nick Martinez (0-1, 5.48 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday night against his former team. The Padres will activate RHP Yu Darvish (0-1, 4.18) from the injured list to make his first start since April 14. He was placed on the injured list with neck tightness on April 17.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb



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