Cincinnati, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Johnny Cueto tossed a three-hit shutout to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-0 triumph over the San Diego Padres Thursday in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Great American Ball Park.
Cueto (4-2) faced just two batters over the minimum while walking two and striking out eight for his second shutout of the season as the Reds improved to 18-20.
It was the third complete game of the season for Cueto, who now has six straight starts of eight innings or more. No one has done that in the big leagues since Cliff Lee ran off a streak of 10 in a row in 2010 and no Reds pitcher has achieved that since Mario Soto in 1983.
Over his last 55 innings, Cueto has allowed only five runs to lower his Major League-leading ERA to 1.25 over a league-most 72 innings pitched.
The last Major League pitcher to start a season with at least seven innings pitched and two runs or fewer allowed over his first nine starts was Harry Krause of the 1909 Philadelphia Athletics, who did it in 10 straight starts.
No Reds pitcher has worked at least seven innings in their first nine starts since Bucky Walters began 1944 with 20 in a row.
Padres starter Ian Kennedy (2-5), who had a 1.53 career ERA in four starts against the Reds with eight innings pitched in three of those games, gave up five runs on 11 hits with a walk and four strikeouts over six innings for the Padres (19-22).
The game began when Cueto mishandled a Will Venable bouncer near the mound for a single. Venable was promptly erased when Everth Cabrera bounced into a double play. Cueto also induced a double play to end the top of the seventh.
After the game was deadlocked scoreless through four innings, Brandon Phillips’ three-run home run in the fifth gave Cueto plenty of breathing room.
In the sixth, following Ryan Ludwick’s infield single and Brayan Pena’s double, Cozart ended an 0-for-15 skid with runners in scoring position with a two-run single up the middle for a 5-0 lead. Every Reds starting position player had at least one hit in the game.