Start doesn't go as planned for Despaigne

Padres righty tries to attack Bruce up in the zone, but Reds' slugger hits two homers

Start doesn't go as planned for Despaigne

CINCINNATI -- Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne thought he had a good plan of attack for how he wanted to pitch Reds right fielder Jay Bruce during San Diego's 4-0 loss on Sunday -- get him to chase fastballs up in the strike zone.

"That was pretty much my plan, to go up on him," Despaigne said through first-base coach Jose Valentin, who acted as an interpreter.

The only problem was Despaigne didn't go nearly high enough.

Bruce did, though -- both with his prodigious swings and the trajectory of where he peppered two pitches on a warm afternoon at Great American Ball Park.

Bruce's two home runs, a solo shot in the second inning and a three-run homer in the sixth, accounted for all of the Reds' runs in their victory over the Padres.

Despaigne, who had allowed a combined three earned runs over his previous three starts, certainly felt bad about the final results of each pitch to Bruce, but not the process.

"I guess he made an adjustment and got on top of it, so you've got to give credit to the guy," he said.

Even Despaigne's manager, Bud Black, sounded pragmatic about the home runs, which allowed the Reds to salvage one game in the three-game series.

"He was victimized by a big power hitter in Jay Bruce twice on balls that were up at the very top of the zone or possibly balls," Black said. "But I thought Despi was good. [It's] just Bruce got him on the two high fastballs."

The first home run, on an 0-1 pitch, landed more than halfway up the right-field seats.

"The first one was crushed," Black said.

All told, Despaigne allowed four runs on nine hits with three strikeouts in six innings.

Despaigne strikes out Phillips

Despaigne has been holding down a spot in the starting rotation for Brandon Morrow, who has been on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder since May 3.

This start against the Reds might have been Despaigne's swan song in the rotation, as Morrow made what was expected to be his final Minor League rehabilitation start Sunday with the Double-A San Antonio Missions. But Morrow suffered discomfort in his shoulder in the third inning during that start and left the game. His status is undetermined.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.