By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — Luis Perdomo carries the surname of a famous cigar rolled in his native Dominican Republic, but the Cincinnati Reds couldn’t light him up Tuesday night in Great American Ball Park.
In fact, Perdomo and the San Diego Padres smoked the Reds, 7-3.
For the Reds, though, it was a night where it was a case for the defense. Without Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall it might have been 13-3.
Center fielder Hamilton may have made his best catch of the season, and he has a highlight video full of them. In the third inning Carlos Asuaje lined one to the wall. Hamilton raced back and with his back to the infield he stuck out his glove on his right hand and snagged it before crashing hard into the barrier.
Asuaje must wonder what Hamilton has against him because he lined one toward the right center gap in the sixth and Hamilton made a diving snag on that one, too.
And Duvall? With a runner on first and one out in the fifth Spangenberg lined one to the left field wall. Duvall, with his back to the wall, hauled it in and his relay throw helped double the runner off first base. Duvall’s assist, No. 9 this year, ties him with teammate Hamilton for the major league lead.
Hamilton agreed that his catch was the best of the best.
“It was one of those plays you don’t expect to make every night,” said Hamilton. “I thought it was gone. I thought it was way gone and he put his head down like he thought it was gone, too.
“But I made the adjustment and it was fun, although he looked at me as if to say, ‘Are you serious? You gotta do all that to me.’ When I did it thought about it being one of those Willie Mays catches where you don’t even look at the ball.”
Hamilton was even happier that he made the two plays on second baseman Asuaje.
“I was mad at him because he turned the double play on me and that’s one thing I hate doing — grounding into double plays. I was mad at that. You want to get the person that made a play on you.”
Said Price, “It’s a special outfield. Hamilton’s catch was the catch of the year and that will go up against the Cleveland kid (Austin) Jackson.” He was referring to a catch Jackson made in Boston when he fell into the bullpen after making a catch.
Perdomo made 10 starts for the Padres this season before he finally won a game but he looked like Luis Tiant to the Reds.
THE 23-YEAR-OLD RIGHT HANDED ground ball specialist shut down the Reds on no runs and five hits through six innings, coaxing three double plays.
The Reds finally rid themselves of Perdomo in the seventh when he gave up a single to Jesse Winker and walked Jose Peraza. Left hander Jose Torres took over and Tucker Barnhart quickly ripped a three-run home run, but it was too late for the Reds to rescue this one.
Whenever the Reds threatened, Perdomo expunged the problem, something Cincinnati starter Sal Romano couldn’t do. He gave up runs in four of the six innings he pitched — five runs, nine hits and two walks, a hit batter, a wild pitch that let in a run and a home run.
Romano’s problems surfaced early. He issued walks in the first and the second and both scored as the Padres built a 3-0 lead.
He walked Carlos Asuaje with one out in the first, Asuaje moved to third on Jose Pirela’s double and scored on a ground ball. Romano unleashed a wild pitch that scored Pirela.
He walked Cory Spangenberg to open the second, he moved to third on a double by Austin Hedges and scored on Dusty Coleman’s sacrifice fly.
MEANWHILE, PERDOMO WALKED two with two outs in the bottom of the first, but Scooter Gennett struck out. The Reds started the second with three straight singles by Jesse Winker, Jose Peraza and Tucker Barnhart.
That loaded the bases with no outs, but Romano struck out and second baseman Asuaje started a sterling inning-ending double play on Billy Hamilton.
“We had five guys on in the first two innings and we weren’t able to come up with anything,” said manager Bryan Price. “Perdomo got the ground balls. You have to tip your hat to guys in those big situations that keep the ball on the ground. His infielders took care of him with some big plays.”
The Padres made it 4-0 in the fifth on two singles and a sacrifice fly by Wil Myers and Romano gave up his fifth run in the sixth on a home run by Hodges.
ROMANO WAS OPERATING WITH a malfunctioning change-up and had to push his way with only two pitches.
“His change-up has come and gone since he has been up here,” said Price. “These guys don’t miss velocity, no matter how hard you throw it. On cripple counts these guys don’t miss velocity.
“The ability to have three accessible pitches is an important part of being a starter,” he added. “As I’ve said forever, and I’ll say it again, if you don’t have a change-up you are a relief pitcher.”
Drew Storen replaced Romano in the seventh and gave up an infield hit to Pirella and a home run by Yangervis Solarte to make it 7-0.
The Reds’ No. 1 nemesis was right fielder Jose Pirela. After hitting two home runs Monday, he went 4 for 4 with a walk and scored three runs Tuesday.
San Diego closer Brad Hand brought a 23-inning scoreless streak into the ninth inning. And for the first time in 37 appearances he walked two batters in an inning — the first two. But pinch-hitter Eugenio Suarez struck out, Billy Hamilton flied to right and Zack Cozart struck out to end it.