SAN DIEGO -- The Reds' offense was stymied by an unlikely force in losing to the Padres, 8-2, on Saturday night at Petco Park.The Padres' Eric Lauer (2-3) was rocked in his last start, but the rookie kept the Reds at bay with an assortment of offspeed pitches. Catcher Curt
SAN DIEGO -- The Reds' offense was stymied by an unlikely force in losing to the Padres, 8-2, on Saturday night at Petco Park.
The Padres' Eric Lauer (2-3) was rocked in his last start, but the rookie kept the Reds at bay with an assortment of offspeed pitches. Catcher Curt Casali, who homered, was the only Red with more than one hit off of Lauer, who allowed one run in five innings.
While the left-handed Lauer cruised, it was rough go for Matt Harvey (1-4). The right-hander's fifth start with Reds ended in his second straight loss. The Padres collected five runs (four earned), six hits and a walk in Harvey's five innings. He struck out three.
Harvey got nicked for a run in the first, although it was unearned because of a throwing error by catcher Casali. Travis Jankowski reached first on the errant toss, stole second and advanced to third on Harvey's wild pitch. Jose Pirela's run-scoring fly put the Reds in a hole.
Casali pulled the Reds even at 1 in the top of the second, when he smacked a homer in his first at-bat with the club after being acquired on Thursday from the Rays.
San Diego produced a four-run second off Harvey. Four straight Padres got aboard with Manuel Margot's double driving in Franmil Reyes and Freddy Galvis.
Harvey made a good pitch to Margot, but he poked the 88 mph slider down the opposite way for a 3-1 lead. The Padres' cushion went to 5-1 on Lauer's sacrifice fly for his first career RBI and a run-scoring Jankowski single.
"I thought Matt threw the ball fine but his offspeed stuff really wasn't helping him tonight,'' interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "Those pitches were left up and that was the story of the game.''
What's the book on Harvey after five starts with the Reds since arriving after being released by the Mets? Riggleman gives Harvey two thumbs up.
"He's doing fine, but tonight was probably the first game that he really didn't have his breaking ball,'' Riggleman said. "Sometimes that's just the way it is when you go out there without your best stuff."
If Harvey reaches the Trade Deadline in good health and with decent numbers, the veteran could fetch prospects from a contending team for the rebuilding Reds.
"Pretty much every time he has been out there he has given us a chance,'' Riggleman said.
Harvey found trouble when he started thinking instead of pitching.
"I kind of became mechanical and slowed everything down a little bit, instead of just getting after it,'' he said. "Once I sped up my mechanics and stopped worrying about staying back or staying close, and this and that, it was a completely different ballgame.''
Harvey ditched his ineffective curveball, leaning on his fastball, slider and changeup and righted himself well.
"I think I take the positives in the last three innings, but I just have to be better and limit the damage in that one inning.''
The Padres pulled away with a three-run seventh off reliever Dylan Floro and Scott Schebler tacked on a Reds run with a solo shot in the ninth off reliever Phil Hughes.
For the 12th game this season, the Reds didn't get a hit with runners in scoring position. They went 0-for-6 with RISP in their fourth loss in the last six outings.
HE SAID IT
"I'm sure [Casali] was irritated when he threw the ball high to Joey [Votto], but he settled down and did a nice job behind the plate. It was a good first day for him and I'm sure there is many more ahead." -- Riggleman, on Casali's Reds debut, which included a throwing error and two hits
Right-hander Luis Castillo will make his first appearance at Petco Park in Sunday's finale at 6:10 p.m. ET. It's his second start against the Padres; the Reds won the initial one in August, although he didn't get a decision. Castillo was 3-0 from May 8-24 and the Reds have won four of his last five starts. The Padres counter with Tyson Ross.
Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.