SAN DIEGO (AP) — David Holmberg didn’t make many mistakes during Cincinnati’s 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres on Monday night.
But with the Reds’ offense scuffling, one was too many.
Justin Upton slugged a two-run homer off Holmberg (1-1), and the Padres held on to snap a six-game losing streak.
The rookie worked 6 2-3 innings and allowed five hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
“Holmberg certainly pitched well enough to win a ballgame, but we just weren’t able to get anything going offensively,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He battled.”
Upton drove an 87 mph fastball an estimated 417 feet, and that was enough to send the Reds to their fifth loss in six games.
“He put a good swing on it and thumped it out to center,” Holmberg said. “Hats off to him.”
Ian Kennedy pitched five innings for the win, backed up by four relievers who did not permit a run.
Jay Bruce hit his 200th home run for Cincinnati.
Kennedy (7-10) was lifted after throwing 98 pitches, only 58 for strikes. He was charged with two hits and a season-high six walks. The right-hander struck out four while improving to 5-1 against the Reds.
“Credit to Kennedy,” said Padres interim manager Pat Murphy, ejected in the fourth. “He made some great pitches and got outs at some big times.”
Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 32nd save in 34 chances. It was his first save since Aug. 1 against Miami.
Pinch-hitter Melvin Upton Jr. had a chance to extend San Diego’s lead in the seventh, but popped up with the bases loaded.
The Reds, who left 10 runners on, had the potential tying run aboard in the seventh when Brandon Phillips led off with a single. But then Shawn Kelley struck out Eugenio Suarez, Joey Votto and Todd Frazier.
“We just weren’t able to deliver the blow and create a gap,” Price said.
The Padres wasted an opportunity in the sixth when Derek Norris opened with a double. Matt Kemp grounded out, and Justin Upton and Jedd Gyorko went down looking.
“I felt pretty good about getting deep in the game,” Holmberg said.
Price said he’s feeling upbeat about Holmberg.
“He’s a guy who is really seizing the opportunity to come in and become one of our five rookie starters,” Price said. “He’s been very impressive. His mound presence, demeanor. I think he’s handled himself very well.”
Justin Upton connected after Kemp singled in the fourth to give the Padres a 2-1 lead. It was his 20th home run of the season and just the second hit allowed by Holmberg.
“He has that presence in the lineup,” Kennedy said. “He can totally flip the game.”
In the top of the fourth, Murphy earned his first major league ejection. He was tossed by plate umpire Tony Randazzo for arguing balls and strikes as Kennedy loaded the bases with two walks and a single by Brayan Pena.
Kennedy got Suarez to fly out, one of two times in the first four innings that he stranded three runners.
Bruce slammed his 18th homer in the second, sending an 89 mph fastball 406 feet over the right-field fence, and the Reds appeared poised to score more as Kennedy struggled with his control.
He walked Marlon Byrd, Billy Hamilton and Phillips to load the bases with two outs. Suarez flied out to end the threat.
HOME SWEET HOME — Justin Upton has 15 home runs at home, tying Will Venable’s single-season record at Petco Park set in 2013.
MR. 200 — Bruce became the 319th player in major league history to hit 200 home runs. He ranks ninth on the Reds’ career list.