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SD@CIN: Baker on Leake and bullpen's struggles

CINCINNATI -- In the early going on Monday, all the ingredients were there for the Reds to extend their 10-game winning streak against the Padres.

Drew Stubbs hit a first-inning home run. It just so happened that the Reds came in with a 42-16 record when they score first and were 37-2 in games when Stubbs scores a run. Reds starters had finished a six-game road trip 5-0 with a 2.21 ERA.

All of those trends went right out the window as the Reds' win streak crashed hard with an 11-5 loss to the Padres.

"We haven't been blown out in a long, long time," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

It was an ugly night in many respects. Reds starter Mike Leake, staked to a 3-0 first-inning lead following Stubbs' homer and Ryan Ludwick's two-run double off of former Cincinnati pitcher Edinson Volquez, gave up five runs in the second inning and had a career-short 1 2/3 inning start.

The Reds' pitching staff combined to allow a season-high 11 walks, the most for the club in a nine-inning game since 2004. And catcher Devin Mesoraco was ejected for arguing balls and a strikes, and could face a suspension for making contact with the umpire.

And just like that, the tie for the longest winning streak in the Majors was over. The Reds hadn't won more than 10 in a row since 1957.

"That was a great start for us. The next inning, everything kind of exploded or imploded on us," Baker said. "We just had a number of walks tonight, which isn't like our guys. It seemed like we were dragging out there."

After giving up only a soft roller for a single in a scoreless first inning, everything fell apart on Leake as he faced nine batters in the second. Twice he had bases-loaded situations. Yasmani Grandal scored the first run on Everth Cabrera's RBI single into left field. With one-out Alexi Amarista drove in Cameron Maybin with a sacrifice fly, even after Maybin bumped hard into Mesoraco on his way to scoring. Then came the two-out hits -- an RBI single from Will Venable and Carlos Quentin's two-run single that finished Leake's night.

"I wasn't hitting my spots. I couldn't get into a groove," Leake said. "I got behind and got into good counts for them."

Leake finished with five hits and three walks allowed. He came in 4-1 with a 3.02 ERA over his previous 13 starts and only five walks issued over his last seven starts.

"It definitely didn't go the way that we planned," Mesoraco said. "I think you want to get that early lead and go out there and throw strikes and get some easy outs that next inning. After a team scores, that's a very big inning for a pitcher. You want to shut them down the next inning and keep the momentum going for your own team."

Reliever Alfredo Simon, who hadn't allowed an earned run in seven appearances and took a 1.41 ERA into the night, gave up five earned runs with four hits and three walks over his 2 1/3 innings. The big blow in San Diego's four-run third was a bases-loaded, two-out triple to the wall in left-center field by Venable.

"They got five runs off of two hits with two outs. Those things put a dagger in you," Baker said.

During the third, Mesoraco was ejected by home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild for arguing balls and strikes while Chase Headley was batting. The two came into contact as enraged Mesoraco got around Baker's intervention. It could mean a suspension for Mesoraco once the league office has a look.

"Obviously, frustration got the best of me and I lost my cool there," Mesoraco said. "I just disagreed with some calls. You want to stand up for your pitcher, because they can't do it out on the mound."

Bill Bray replaced Simon and pitched two scoreless innings and survived walking the bases loaded in the fifth. There were a combined 17 walks in the game between the Padres and the Reds.

"To do that in the big leagues, you're going to have to lay off some close pitches," Headley said about his team drawing 11 walks. "We had some good at-bats and got some big hits in big situations."

Jay Bruce got one Reds run back in the bottom of the third when he sent a 1-0 Volquez pitch into the right-field seats for his 21st homer of the season. In the Padres' fourth, Yonder Alonso's RBI double made it a 10-4 game. Scott Rolen hit a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning against Volquez but the Reds got no closer. Quentin finished the scoring with a leadoff homer in the eighth against Jose Arredondo.

One consolation for the Reds was that the second-place Pirates were routed by the Cubs on Monday. First-place Cincinnati got to keep its three-game lead in the National League Central.

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