Cincinnati, OH--The Cincinnati Reds entered Wednesday night's game against wild-card leading San Diego with a golden opportunity to continue their assertion back into play-off contention. With the opportunity to build strong late-season momentum off of Jason LaRue's Tuesday night eleventh inning walk-off, game winning home run, the Reds gave back the game they had gained Tuesday night with a disastrous pitching performance and virtually non-existent offense.
Reds starter Kyle Lohse, in falling to 2-3 as a Red, gave up seven runs in just two and one-third innings. The Padres bats rocked Lohse for one run in the first, four in the second, and two in the third, including Geoff Blum's two run shot in the third inning, his fourth home run of the season. Reds reliever Brian Shackleford gave the Padres three more runs in the sixth inning when Mike Piazza hit a three run home run, his twenty-second of the year, and second in two games against the Reds in this series.
While the Reds pitching staff served up the runs, the offense appeared to take the evening off. Padres starter Jake Peavy (9-14) allowed just three hits in the first six innings. Reliever Brian Sweeney allowed two more in the eighth inning, and four Padres pitchers gave up just one walk the entire evening. The only bright spot in the Reds offense was Javier Valentin, who went three-for-three, with a double, and two singles.
The Reds appeared to surrender the game, having replaced four of eight position starters by the eighth inning, including big bat Adam Dunn. One of the Reds announcers commented correctly that he "...had not seen this line-up since March'", referring obviously to spring training games. The twenty-one thousand-plus in attendance dwindled quickly as the team circled the wagons.
Reds starter, Aaron Harang
The Reds will either exit this series with a plus-one gain in the wild-card chase, or a minus-one loss. They will start de facto ace Aaron Harang (13-10) against Clay Hensley (8-11) at 12:35 p.m.