By HAL McCOY
Scott Feldman’s first seven pitches to the San Diego Padres Tuesday night were enough to challenge the patience of Job.
Seven pitches — two bloop singles, two seeing-eye ground ball singles dribbled through the infield and the Padres owned a 2-0 lead without once squaring up the baseball.
And Padres left hander Clayton Richard — that’s Clayton Richard, not Clayton Kershaw — guarded that lead like the Pinkertons, as the Padres stopped the Cincinnati Reds again, 6-2.
IT WAS THE REDS’ FIFTH straight loss on the trip and dipped their road record this season to 10-and-20. And it is actually worse than that. The Reds began he season 5-and-1 on the road but are 5-and-19 since that quick start.
And the Reds are 9-and-18 against the Padres since 2012.
HERE’S HOW THAT FIRST inning unfolded against Feldman, who entered the game with three straight victories:
—Jose Pirela hit a ground ball to the hole at shortstop that was stopped by Jose Peraza but he couldn’t make a throw. The ball was hit 63 miles an hour.
—Franchy Cordero blooped one down the left field line, a ball that also came off the bat at 63 miles an hour.
—Wil Myers blooped one just over first baseman Joey Votto’s head for a run-scoring single on a ball that came off the bat at 59 miles an hour.
—Yangervis Solarte grounded one straight up the middle and into center field for another run-scoring single and a 2-0 lead.
Then the Padres turned on a bit of power. Franchy Cordero, who hit his first career home run Monday night, hit his second one to lead the third inning. Then he hit his third career home run — three in two nights — on the first pitch thrown by relief pitcher Tony Cingrani in the seventh inning that gave the Padres a 5-0 lead.
The Padres have hit home runs in 12 straight home games, a club record, and achieved in Petco Park, allegedly a pitcher’s park.
RICHARD ENTERED THE GAME with a 4-and-7 record and a 4.54 earned run average. But he had the Reds nibbling out of his left hand all night.
The Reds had only three hits through seven innings and had Richard on the ropes in both the eighth and ninth.
Jose Peraza and pinch-hitter Patrick Kivlehan led the eighth with singles. But Billy Hamilton struck out, Scooter Gennett struck out and Joey Votto walked on a full count to load the bases. Adam Duvall swung at the first pitch and third baseman Cory Spangenberg made an exceptional stop and threw him out.
Richard was one strike away from a complete game shutout in the ninth after Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler led with singles.
Devin Mesoraco took a disputed called strike three, Jose Peraza flied to center and pinch-hitter Tucker Barnhart had two strikes when he doubled to right for two runs.
That ended Richard’s night. Phil Maton, making his second major league appearances, came on and slipped two quick strikes past Billy Hamilton before he singled, his second hit in his last 27 at bats.
Padres manager Andy Green quickly replaced Maton with Brandon Maurer, the San Diego closer, and he induced a game-ending ground ball out of Scooter Gennett.
After giving up two runs and four dubious hits in the first inning, Reds starter Scott Feldman gave up two more runs and four more hits over the next four innings — four runs, eight hits, two walks, six strikeouts for his five innings.
The Reds were one game under .500 when this trip began, but three straight losses in Los Angeles and two straight in San Diego has dropped them to 29-and-35 and dropped them back into last place in the National League Central.