CINCINNATI – Johnny Cueto pitched a three-hitter for his second shutout of the season, and Brandon Phillips hit a three-run homer and a double, leading the Cincinnati Reds over the San Diego Padres 5-0 Thursday in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
The teams were making up their game rained out on Wednesday night.
Cueto (4-2) lowered the majors’ best ERA to 1.25 and extended one of the best season-opening stretches in more than 100 years. He has three complete games and two shutouts in his first nine starts.
Cueto is the first major league pitcher to go at least seven innings and allow two or fewer runs in each of his first nine starts since the Philadelphia Athletics’ Harry Krause in 1909, according to information provided the Reds by the Elias Sports Bureau.
Also, he is the first Reds pitcher to go at least seven innings in each of his first nine starts since Bucky Walters in 1944.
San Diego came into the game last in the NL in batting average (.222) and runs (118). The Padres were blanked for the seventh time, the most in the majors. Cueto fanned eight, walked two and threw 116 pitches.
Phillips homered off Ian Kennedy (2-5) and Zack Cozart singled home a pair of runs, part of a three-hit game for the shortstop.
Kennedy had been tough on the road and tough on the Reds throughout his career. The right-hander was 2-0 in his first three road games this season and had been 3-0 in four career starts against Cincinnati, holding the Reds to one earned run or less three times.
He repeatedly pitched out of trouble early on, forcing the Reds to strand four in scoring position during the first three innings.
The Reds got runners on first and third with two outs in the fifth, and Phillips connected for his third homer. In his last nine games, Phillips is 14 for 35 with seven doubles, two homers and five multihit games.
Cozart snapped an 0-for-15 streak with runners in scoring position when he singled home a pair of runs in the sixth. Kennedy gave up a season-high five runs and 11 hits in six innings.
San Diego’s Seth Smith singled, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games. Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier singled twice and extended his career-best streak to 13 games.