J. Upton's homer lifts Padres over Reds

J. Upton's homer lifts Padres over Reds

SAN DIEGO -- Justin Upton hit a two-run home run and Ian Kennedy picked up his seventh victory despite six walks Monday as the Padres ended their six-game losing skid with a 2-1 victory over the Reds at Petco Park.

"I feel like he's always been one of those players who can change a game or change the outcome of a game with one swing," Kennedy said of Upton.

Jay Bruce put the Reds ahead by leading off the second inning with a homer off Kennedy, who allowed two hits in five innings.

"It was a constant grind. It was pretty frustrating," Kennedy said of his fleeting command, which led to the six walks.

Cincinnati pitcher David Holmberg allowed two runs on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings.

"Missed opportunities, for sure," Reds manager Bryan Price said after his club left 10 men on base, including the bases loaded in the second and fourth innings. "We had two hits [off Kennedy], one of those being Jay Bruce's home run. We just really weren't able to deliver that blow and create a gap. Holmberg certainly pitched well enough to win a ballgame. But we just weren't able to get anything going offensively."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Big ballpark? What big ballpark? Upton's home run in the fourth inning was his 20th of the season and already his 15th at Petco Park in 2015. So much for the ballpark playing big, right? The home run was Upton's 25th in this pitcher-friendly ballpark in 350 career at-bats. More >

J. Upton's two-run shot

No. 200 for Bruce: On Kennedy's first pitch of the second inning, Bruce hit his 18th homer of the season and also No. 200 of his career -- all with Cincinnati, where he is ninth on the club's all-time list. Bruce is the 319th player in Major League history to hit 200 home runs. Although the ball landed in the first row of seats in right-center field, it was no cheapie. The ball had an exit velocity of 108 mph, according to Statcast™, and was tracked at a distance of 401 feet.

"It's crazy to think about it, but honestly I don't think too much about where I stand or where it stands in history just because you're so consumed by the game and playing it," Bruce said. "When I'm done -- hopefully 10, 12, 13 years from now -- I'll look back and reflect a little bit."

Wipeout sliders: San Diego reliever Shawn Kelley allowed a leadoff single in the seventh inning but then struck out Eugenio Suarez, Joey Votto and Todd Frazier to end the threat. Kelley finished off each of the three Reds on sliders.

Kelley strikes out side in 7th

"We come to expect it from [Joaquin] Benoit and [Craig] Kimbrel and that's a big thing, they are both filthy," interim manager Pat Murphy said. "But the outing Kelley had and the job he did striking out the side after Phillips, who put an experienced swing on a tough pitch, got a base hit. Then three punchouts for Kelley, that's really impressive to pick us up with [Brandon] Maurer not in his best form." More >

Quality and quantity: Holmberg reached a career high with 6 2/3 innings, and he helped himself with some economical innings. He threw only 20 pitches while facing the minimum over the first two innings, including nine pitches in the bottom of the second. It was the fourth straight quality start for the rookie-laden Reds rotation, which is one shy of the season high for the club.

Holmberg's longest career outing

"He battled," Price said. "He left a couple of balls up there -- for the base hit by [Matt] Kemp and the homer to Upton -- and then battled his way through into the seventh inning. He was probably two inches away from snaring one of those comebackers and going seven full. It's a guy seizing the opportunity to come in and progress and be one of our rookie five starters. He's been very, very impressive. His mound presence and demeanor, I think he's handled himself very well." More >

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The home run by Bruce marked the 11th consecutive start in which Kennedy has allowed a home run -- the longest active streak in the big leagues. The last time Kennedy didn't allow a home run was June 8 against the Braves.

EARLY EXIT
On Monday, Murphy earned his second career ejection, for arguing balls and strikes during the fourth inning after Kennedy walked his fifth batter of the game. Murphy argued from the dugout before he was ejected by home-plate umpire Tony Randazzo.

Murphy's ejection

"That guy has been umpiring up here for a long time and he is a good umpire and I can't see from the angle I am at. I don't have a good view; from the view I had, I thought it was a strike. It probably wasn't and I got a little hot about it and said too much," Murphy said.

WHAT'S NEXT
Reds: Tuesday's 10:10 p.m. ET second game of the series will have Michael Lorenzen seeking to end a seven-start winless streak that dates back to June 21. Lorenzen hasn't helped his own cause lately as he's been unable to pitch at least six innings in any of his last four starts and six of seven.

Padres: Colin Rea makes his Major League debut Tuesday against the Reds at 7:10 p.m. PT. He was a combined 5-4 with a 1.95 ERA in Minor League stops this season with Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.