Posted July 08, 2012 on AP on Fox
All-Star Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick hit consecutive home runs, leading Johnny Cueto and the Cincinnati Reds past the San Diego Padres 4-2 Sunday. The win put the Reds one game behind Pittsburgh for the NL Central lead at the All-Star break. Bruce and Ludwick connected two pitches apart in the fourth inning to give Cincinnati a 3-0 lead. The Reds hit seven home runs in winning the final three of the four-game series. Cincinnati finished 6-5 on its longest road trip of the season. Cueto (10-5), who felt snubbed when he was not picked for the NL All-Star team, looked solid until he ran into trouble in the sixth inning. Cueto gave up two runs on seven hits in 5 2-3 innings and was pulled after issuing a bases-loaded walk. The right-hander struck out five, walked two, and hit two batters. All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 15 chances. Brandon Phillips led off the Reds fourth with a single and Bruce connected against Jason Marquis (1-5) for his 18th home run. Ludwick followed with his 12th home run, a shot into the second deck in left field. The Reds came close to another home in the fifth run when Joey Votto, the NL All-Star starting first baseman, hit a deep drive into left-center field. Center fielder Cameron Maybin took a running leap and snared the ball right at the top of the wall just as he crashed into the padding. Trailing 3-1, San Diego loaded the bases in the sixth with two outs on three singles. Pinch hitter Mark Kotsay fouled off three straight pitches with a full count before he drew a walk from Cueto. Reliever Sam LeCure came in and retired Chris Denorfia on a fly ball. Zack Cozart doubled and scored on Phillips' single in the seventh. It was Cozart's 21st double, the most by a rookie shortstop prior to the All-Star break, breaking the mark set by Boston's Nomar Garciaparra in 1997. Marquis allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings. The righty struck out five and did not walk a batter while making consecutive starts on three days' rest for the fifth time in his career. Marquis is 1-9 in his last 11 starts. NOTES: After scoring one run in each of three consecutive defeats, the Reds scored 16 runs in the last three games at San Diego. ... The Padres have lost only one of their last five series. ... Reds 3B Scott Rolen was in the starting lineup for the first time since back spasms forced him out in the first inning last Sunday in San Francisco. He went 0 for 4 and struck out three times, dropping his batting average to .178.

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