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Padres' 3 HRs beat Reds 6-1, split doubleheader

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By JOE KAY
AP Baseball Writer

CINCINNATI (AP) - Held to three hits in the opener of a doubleheader, the Padres had a season-high three homers to gain a split and keep their momentum going.

Rene Rivera hit the first of San Diego's three homers, and Tyson Ross allowed three hits in seven innings Thursday night, leading the Padres to a 6-1 victory and a day-night split with the Cincinnati Reds.

Johnny Cueto pitched a three-hitter for his second shutout in the opener, a 5-0 victory. San Diego did a turnabout in the second game, holding Cincinnati to three hits while getting nine of their own.

"The guys came out determined in the second game to put some at-bats together," Padres manager Bud Black said.

The Padres won their first series on the road this season, taking two of three. They have won five of their last six games, their best stretch of the season.

Ross (5-3) walked five batters - including three in the first inning - and struck out eight including Joey Votto three times. Once he settled in after the first inning, the Reds got only one more runner to second base.

"In the first inning, the sinker was pretty good," Rivera said. "It was nasty. It was a little down in the strike zone. We told Tyson to keep it closer to the strike zone."

Rivera hit a two-run homer off left-hander Jeff Francis (0-1), who was called up to make his Reds debut. Francis gave up three runs in five innings.

Everth Cabrera and Yonder Alonso hit solo shots off the bullpen, their first homers of the season. Alonso, who went to San Diego as part of the trade for starter Mat Latos in 2011, also had an RBI single in his former ballpark.

"I played here a lot of years," Alonso said. "Obviously it's a special place. I know a lot of those guys. It's fun, like playing back in the old days. I was reminiscing with a couple of those guys."

In the opener, Cueto extended his season-opening streak of domination against a team that has been shut out more than any other in the majors - seven times.

San Diego came into the doubleheader last in the NL in batting average (.222) and runs (118). Cueto struck out eight, walked two and threw 116 pitches.

Cueto is the first Red to go at least seven innings in each of his first nine starts since Bucky Walters in 1944.

Asked if he's the best pitcher in the majors now, Cueto didn't equivocate.

"I would say yes because the numbers talk and my numbers are going to talk for me," Cueto said, with assistant trainer Tomas Vera interpreting.

Brandon Phillips homered off Ian Kennedy (2-5) and Zack Cozart singled home two runs, part of a three-hit game for the shortstop.

The Reds got runners on first and third with two outs in the fifth, and Phillips connected for his third homer. In his last 11 games, Phillips is 14 for 39 with seven doubles, two homers and five multihit games.

Cozart snapped an 0-for-15 streak with runners in scoring position when he singled home two runs in the sixth. Kennedy gave up a season-high five runs and 11 hits in six innings.

San Diego's Seth Smith singled in the opener, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games. He sat out the second game. Cincinnati's Todd Frazier singled in both games, extending his career-best streak to 14 games.

NOTES: The Padres acquired OF Jake Goebbert in a deal that sent utility player Kyle Blanks to Oakland. The Padres will also get another player to be determined or cash in the deal. Goebbert batted .257 with six homers and 25 RBIs for Triple-A Sacramento this season. He was assigned to Triple-A El Paso. Blanks played in five games with the Padres this season, going 2 for 10. ... The Reds optioned right-handed reliever Nick Christiani to Louisville before the first game, then added him as their extra player for the second game. Reliever Kevin Quackenbush was San Diego's extra player. Christiani didn't get into the game, but Quackenbush pitched the ninth.

Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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