By HAL McCOY
For once Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell’s batting order du jour worked, a batting order that helped the Reds shed a four-game losing streak Thursday night in San Diego.
Joey Votto batted leadoff again and Bell batted pitcher Tanner Roark eighth and catcher Tucker Barnhart ninth.
Votto hit the third pitch of the game out of the park and Barnhart drilled a two-run home run in the fifth and Jesse Winker, batting third, hit a home run in the ninth, the runs the Reds needed to beat the San Diego Padres, 4-1.
And mark down starting pitcher Tanner Roark and up-and-coming relief pitcher Robert Stephenson, plus Zach Duke, Amir Garrett and Raisel Iglesias as major domos in this one.
The Reds had only three hits over six innings against San Diego rookie pitcher Chris Paddack, but two were the home runs by Votto (his second) and Barnhart (his first).
Reds starter Tanner Roark pitched in and out of dilemmas all evening but kept the Padres off the scoreboard. In five of Roark’s six innings, the Padres put their leadoff batter on base. Roark, though, was the recipient of three double plays to keep the scoreboard clean.
He finally encountered major difficulty in the sixth when he walked No. 8 hitter Luis Urias. When Fernando Tatis Jr. singled with one out, Bell brought in left hander Zach Duke to face dangerous left hander Eric Hosmer.
Duke has been ineffective in is lefty vs. lefty role so far this season. This time he struck out Hosmer.
Bell quickly removed Duke and brought in Robert Stephenson, the most effective relief pitcher on the staff so far, but this was his first high leverage appearance — two on, two outs.
And he was facing the very rich Manny Machado and he blooped one down the right field line. Derek Dietrich, who had just moved from second base to left field, couldn’t catch up with it.
Fortunately for the Reds, the ball bounced over the wall for a ground rule double. Because it bounced out of play, only one run scored when two would have scored had it stayed in play.
Stephenson then struck out Franmil Reyes on three pitches to end the inning.
Stephenson went back out for the eighth and gave up a first-pitch leadoff double to Hunter Renfroe. And Renfroe stayed there when Stephenson struck out Manuel Margot, induced a ground ball to the mound out of Austin Hedges and struck out Urias on a full count, leaving the score at 3-1.
Amir Garrett, another near-impeccable relief pitcher this season, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, although rookie sensations Fernando Tatis Jr. hit one to the warning track in right field that Scott Schebler tracked down.
Winker cracked his fifth home run with one out in the ninth and all five have been hit to left field, the opposite field for Winker, who used to be criticized for being strictly a pull hitter.
All that was left was for struggling closer, Raisel Iglesias to put the lid on it a game in which the Reds had only five hits, but three flew out of the park.
Iglesias and Manny Machado battled for eight pitches before Iglesias struck him out on a full count to open the ninth. Iglesias struck out Franmil Reyes for the second out and completed the trifecta by striking out Hunter Renfroe to finish if off.