CINCINNATI (AP) - 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.
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
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
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
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.