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Reds put dent in Padres' wild-card cushion

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The sunburn was worth it to Rich Aurilia.

A day off in San Diego allowed the Cincinnati Reds to chill out
after a six-game losing streak, which they snapped with a 6-2 win
over the San Diego Padres on Friday night.

Aurilia tied his career high with four hits, including a homer,
and Bronson Arroyo kept San Diego off-balance for seven innings.

"I think it helped that I laid on the beach yesterday,"
Aurilia said, even though he was sunburned on his forehead and
right arm.

"We needed a a day to just step back and reflect. We were
terrible. We're fortunate to be where we are right now. So is
everybody else. Nobody's running away with this thing except the
Mets. We're lucky to be where we are, and now we need to take
advantage of it."

The Padres saw their lead in the NL wild-card race shrink to a
half-game over the Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies, whose game
against Atlanta was rained out. San Diego, which dropped to 33-37
at home, fell four games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL
West race. The Reds are five games behind St. Louis in the Central
Division.

Arroyo allowed four hits in seven innings to win for only the
second time since June 19. The Reds snapped their skid in time to
avoid dropping below .500 for the first time since opening day.

Ken Griffey Jr. went 0-for-5 to end his 15-game hitting streak.
He hit a drive in the third inning that center fielder Mike Cameron
caught at the top of the fence.

Arroyo (11-9) got enough run support before the Padres even had
a baserunner, with the Reds taking a 4-0 lead off Clay Hensley
(8-11) after three innings. Three of the first four runs scored on
two-out hits.

Ryan Freel singled leading off the game and scored on Edwin
Encarnacion's two-out double down the left-field line.

Aurilia homered leading off the second, his 20th. He drove a 2-2
pitch off the balcony on the third floor of the Western Metal
Supply Co. Building just beyond the left-field corner.

Adam Dunn was hit by a pitch leading off the third and scored on
Scott Hatteberg's two-out double into the right-center field gap.
Aurilia singled in Hatteberg.

Hensley had allowed only one earned run in his previous 21
innings.

Arroyo retired the first 11 Padres batters before Todd Walker
singled to center in the fourth.

"We're in September already and these guys took over the lead
in the wild card from us, so this was probably as big a game as
we've had in a while," Arroyo said.

"I was hitting my spots with all my pitches," he said. "These
guys are pretty aggressive. They gave me some easy outs and they
also hit some hard balls right at people."

The Padres finally broke through against the right-hander in the
fifth, scoring two runs on three hits and two walks. Russell
Branyan hit a leadoff single and scored on Mike Cameron's double to
the base of the center-field fence. Cameron scored on Dave Roberts'
two-out single. Walker came up with the bases loaded but flied out
to center field to end the inning.

Arroyo "had us buffaloed there for a while," Padres manager
Bruce Bochy said. "And Clay was a little bit off today. We did get
back in the game, but we couldn't hold them and they swung it well
tonight."

Arroyo struck out four and walked three. Hensley allowed four
runs and seven hits in five innings, struck out two and walked two.

Hensley said he had poor command of his fastball.

"I just couldn't find the groove on it," he said.

Cincinnati's David Ross doubled and scored on pitcher Jon
Adkins' throwing error in the sixth, and hit a sacrifice fly in the
seventh.

Game notes
It was the 18th time in his career Aurilia had four hits.
Aurilia, who turns 35 on Saturday, is 10-for-30 on this road trip
and is hitting .341 (47-for-138) with nine homers and 21 RBI since
the All-Star break. ... Padres RH reliever Rudy Seanez, with the
Padres for the record fourth time in his career, pitched the
eighth. He was signed Thursday after being designated for
assignment by Boston on Aug. 18.