CINCINNATI -- Left-hander Wade LeBlanc decided he wasn't going to change a thing at Great American Ball Park, not even after it gave up eight homers in one game.
Good decision.LeBlanc went six innings for his second career victory at the homer-friendly ballpark, and the San Diego Padres scored four runs off an ailing Dontrelle Willis for a 7-3 victory Sunday that avoided a sweep by the Cincinnati Reds.A day after the Reds hit seven homers, they were limited to just four hits, including Jay Bruce's three-run shot off LeBlanc (1-2). The left-hander had pitched at Great American once before, throwing six shutout innings in a victory last season.LeBlanc watched from the bench on Saturday night as the teams combined for eight homers in Cincinnati's 13-1 win, one that might have tempted him to become a litte more careful than usual."You can't alter the way you pitch based on the park you're in, especially with the stuff I have," said LeBlanc, who gets batters out by changing speeds rather than overpowering them.James Darnell had a pair of run-scoring singles for the Padres, who have won seven of their last 11. Orlando Hudson also tripled home a run.The Reds had won four in a row, one shy of their season high. They couldn't overcome Willis' injury-shortened outing. He left with a sore left forearm during San Diego's four-run third inning.Willis said his forearm was still a little tight after he warmed up before the game and got worse as it went along."This is the first time my arm felt like this," Willis said. "At this point in my career, it's kind of shocking. I think I'll be OK."San Diego dropped the first two in the series, including the 13-1 loss that featured seven Reds homers, equaling the most ever off a Padres pitching staff. A few hours later, San Diego's staff did an about-face.LeBlanc had only one bad moment. He walked the first two batters in the fourth, then gave up Bruce's fourth homer in his last five games on a fastball. Bruce also had a three-run homer that won the series opener on Friday and two-run shot on Saturday night."He had a pretty good swing at it," LeBlanc said. "I walked the two guys ahead of him -- I'd been kind of nibbling and being overly careful. I didn't want to do that with him. I guess I was too aggressive."Willis, trying to revive his career in Cincinnati, was the victim of blown saves in three of his first six starts. This time, his arm did him in.Willis lost his touch in the third inning, when he walked two and threw a pair of wild pitches, one of them letting in a run. After back-to-back RBI singles by Logan Forsythe and Darnell made it 4-0, manager Dusty Baker and a trainer visited Willis on the mound.After a brief discussion, Willis headed for the dugout, shaking and flexing his left hand.Hudson tripled home a run in the seventh off Jose Arredondo, and Darnell singled home another in the eighth off Nick Masset. Jason Bartlett added an RBI single in the ninth off Aroldis Chapman as San Diego squeezed out runs by doing the little things right."That's how we play," said Cameron Maybin, who stole a base and scored twice. "We need to find ways to do the little things to win games. If we continue to believe in it, good things will start to happen. We believe in our pitching staff."LeBlanc finally got a win during his fifth stint with the Padres this year, giving up two hits in six innings.
The Padres called up RH reliever Pat Neshek from Triple-A Tucson and optioned OF Blake Tekotte to the minors. Neshek begins his fourth stint with the Padres this season. ... The Padres completed their road trip with a 6-4 mark. They return home for three games against the Mets and four against Florida. RHP Aaron Harang will try to extend his streak of solid starts -- 6-1 with a 3.27 ERA in his last 12 games. ... The Reds are off on Monday before starting a nine-game trip to Washington, Pittsburgh and Florida. RHP Mike Leake will start on Tuesday in Washington, trying to become the Reds' first 11-game winner.