SAN DIEGO -- A Homer and three homers carried the Cincinnati Reds to the cusp of their first postseason berth since 1995.
Homer Bailey helped shut down the Padres while Chris Heisey homered and hit a three-run double, leading the Reds to a 12-2 romp over San Diego on Sunday that reduced their magic number to one for winning the NL Central.Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips also homered for the Reds, denied a chance to clinch the division title Sunday when the St. Louis Cardinals held on to win 8-7 at the Chicago Cubs. Cincinnati is off Monday and then opens a three-game series at home Tuesday night against Houston. The Cardinals play Pittsburgh on Monday.
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"It would have been nice to clinch here so we can tear this clubhouse up, but hopefully we just clinch it at home and just get it over with," Phillips said. "It doesn't really matter where, as long as it happens."San Diego's loss ensured a playoff spot for the Philadelphia Phillies, who need one win or an Atlanta defeat to wrap up the NL East crown.The Padres dropped a half-game behind the first-place San Francisco Giants in the NL West, and took a half-game lead over the Braves in the wild-card race.It's the seventh time since Sept. 16 that the Giants and Padres have flip-flopped atop the division. The Giants won 4-2 at Colorado. The Padres and Giants will play a season-ending weekend series at San Francisco.The Reds snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the eighth time in 21 games.Bailey (4-3) combined with two relievers on a six-hitter. He allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings. The Reds have won eight of Bailey's nine starts since he came off the disabled list on Aug. 15. Still, this was only his third win during that stretch."I think everybody knew it was a big game and I think everybody stepped up," Bailey said. "Our defense was excellent, as usual. The bats really showed up. This is a mark of this team. If we know it's a big game, we're going to go out there and play. Especially if St. Louis would have lost and we won, we would have clinched. I think that's why the bats were live, that's why our pitching did well."Adrian Gonzalez hit his 30th homer for the Padres, a leadoff shot down the right-field line in the second, and finished with three hits. It is his fourth 30-homer season, extending his club record. He hit a career-high 40 last year. Yorvit Torrealba also homered for San Diego in the second, his seventh."He was getting strike one. After that inning, he was almost unhittable," Reds manager Dusty Baker said about Bailey. "Tonight was a great night for us because our offense came alive. We were hoping to celebrate here. We were all pulling for the Cubs to come back. It wasn't there. Maybe it's better to do it at home in front of the home people."Padres manager Bud Black said heading into the final week of the season with a chance to reach the playoffs "is fantastic. Anybody who's in uniform relishes this."Torrealba said the Padres' chances of making the playoffs are "300 percent. I am a positive guy."Votto hit a two-out, opposite-field shot to left field off lefty Clayton Richard in the first, his 37th. He added a two-run single in the six-run eighth.Six Padres pitchers combined to walk nine, with five of those runners scoring.Heisey had the big blow in the fourth. Richard loaded the bases by walking Votto leading off the inning, allowing a one-out double by Jonny Gomes and intentionally walking Phillips. Heisey then hit a hard grounder down the line past third baseman Chase Headley to clear the bases and give the Reds a 4-2 lead."I was falling behind hitters," Richard said. "Once that happens, usually bad things occur. They are too good of a ballclub to do that to. Things kind of got out of hand in the fourth with the leadoff walk."With Gomes aboard on a leadoff walk in the sixth, Phillips homered off the right-field foul pole to increase the lead to 6-2 and chase Richard. It was his 17th.Heisey homered to left off Edward Mujica leading off the eighth, his eighth. He finished with a career-high four RBIs. Votto hit a two-run single, Scott Rolen an RBI single and two runs scored on throwing errors by pitchers Adam Russell and Cory Luebke.Richard (13-9) allowed six runs and five hits in five innings, struck out five and walked four.
Votto's HR was the first allowed by Richard to a lefty since his first start with San Diego on Aug. 1, 2009, when Milwaukee's Prince Fielder went deep. Richard has allowed only five homers to lefties in his career. ... Reds SS Orlando Cabrera left in the fourth with a sore left side. He was replaced by Paul Janish. ... Gonzalez's 30-homer season is the 17th in franchise history. ... The crowd of 26,131 gave the Padres a season total of 2,023,440. It was the 16th time in 42 seasons the Padres have surpassed 2 million. ... Gomes' hitting streak reached a career-high 11 games.