The Reds haven’t won four games in a row since May for a reason. Their inconsistent play has kept them from building the sort of momentum they need to make a serious run at the first-place Pirates.
A fourth straight win stared them in the face Saturday. It knocked on the door. It was there for the taking. The Reds still couldn’t take advantage. They didn’t deserve to win — but they should have.
Cincinnati’s first four-error game in three years and a serious baserunning miscue in the seventh inning left it with a 3-1 loss to the Padres in front of 34,777 at Great American Ball Park.
The Padres, 7-2 losers in the first game of the series on Friday, bounded out of the gate Saturday. The first three batters of the game reached base, and the Reds assisted San Diego’s cause with two errors in the first.
Chris Denorfia, the former Red who beat the Reds with a two-run, walk-off home run against Aroldis Chapman on July 29, led off the game with a single. Will Venable then singled to left, and Xavier Paul couldn’t handle the ball. Denorfia came all the way around from first to score.
The Reds’ problems continued when the next batter, Chase Headley, grounded to Jack Hannahan at third. Hannahan’s throw to first sailed wide. Joey Votto got a glove on it, but the ball rolled into the photographer’s well next to the Reds dugout. Venable scored from second on the play.
Hannahan was charged with the error on that play in the first, and he committed two more in the game, becoming the first Red to commit three errors in a game since Edwin Encarnacion in 2006.
Only Hannahan’s first error led to a run. The Padres didn’t score again until the eighth when Venable homered off Manny Parra.
Meanwhile, the Reds managed just one run against Padres starter Tyson Ross and two relievers. Brandon Phillips delivered that run with a single to score Shin-Soo Choo with two outs in the first.
The Reds’ best chance to tie the game or take the lead came in the seventh. Jay Bruce walked to lead off the inning, and Paul singled to move Bruce to third with no outs.
Devin Mesoraco then lifted a fly ball to short right field. It was too short for Bruce to tag, but Paul tried to take second on the throw to the plate. However, the throw was cut off, and Paul was thrown out at second.
That double play took the life out of the Reds. The next batter, Hannahan, with a chance to redeem himself, grounded out to shortstop.
The Reds (64-52) wasted another fine pitching performance. Tony Cingrani settled down after the first. He was charged with no earned runs in five innings with five strikeouts.