Luis Arraez providing spark as Padres eye series win vs. Reds

The San Diego Padres enjoyed an offensive revival Wednesday thanks to one of their stars and will look for a second straight road series win when they play the host Cincinnati Reds in a Thursday matinee.

Luis Arraez, acquired from the Miami Marlins in a May 4 trade, homered for the first time with his new team and collected four hits to lead the Padres to a 7-3 win, setting up the rubber game with the Reds.

Arraez was acquired to help add star power in the leadoff spot and on Wednesday he turned on a 3-2 fastball from Cincinnati’s Nick Martinez in the first inning and unloaded for his first homer since 2023.

Arraez drove in another run in a two-run sixth as the Padres pulled away.

“I like that second time through we strung together some really good at-bats. It starts at the top with Arraez,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said. “What a magician he is with that bat in his hands. Just a well-played game in all phases. Contribution throughout the lineup, just fun stuff.”

San Diego had been shut out in its previous two games before Arraez opened Wednesday’s game with a home run.

Cincinnati had just one hit — a Jeimer Candelario solo shot — through five innings before Tyler Stephenson’s two-run double in the sixth. The Reds scored in just two innings and fell for the 19th time in 25 games.

The Reds will be aiming to claim their first series win since April 19-21, when they swept the visiting Los Angeles Angels. They have lost seven straight series and are 0-7-1 in eight series since.

“We have a lot of hitters throughout our lineup where their strength is to go deep into at-bats and having good quality at-bats, but also trying to be aggressive at the plate because we think that’s important to be successful at this level,” Reds manager David Bell said. “But our guys have the skill to get on base and not chase (bad pitches).

“You kind of have to give and take what the pitchers are giving you, and that can be different for each game, depending on the pitcher. We’re trying to use our individual strengths to match that.”

The Reds will send right-hander Frankie Montas (2-3, 4.37 ERA) to the mound.

The Reds have lost Montas’ last three starts, and the veteran right-hander hasn’t won since April 3, when he beat Philadelphia to start the season 2-0.

Last Friday, Montas allowed three runs on four hits over five innings as the Dodgers beat the Reds 7-3.

Montas is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two career starts against the Padres. He last faced San Diego on Aug. 4, 2021, when he allowed three runs on eight hits over six innings and received a no-decision in Oakland’s 5-4 win in 10 innings.

The Padres counter with right-hander Matt Waldron (2-5, 5.00), who is coming off an impressive road win last Friday in Atlanta. He allowed one run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings in San Diego’s 3-1 triumph.

Waldron will be making his second career start against Cincinnati, losing his only other start on April 29 at San Diego. That night, Waldron allowed six hits and four runs over six innings as the Reds prevailed 5-2.

–Field Level Media