Created on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 Written by AP
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake had mixed emotions after pitching in front of family and friends for the first time in his career.
"That's all you can really ask for is to go into the last inning with an opportunity to win," said Leake, who pitched seven scoreless innings and was one inning away from winning his 11th game of the season and fourth straight decision in front of his hometown fans.
Padres pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia spoiled the homecoming when he hit a two-run home run off reliever Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Padres a 2-1 victory and hand the Reds their fourth straight defeat.
Leake went seven scoreless innings, allowing four singles and retiring 12 of the final 13 batters he faced.
"It's awesome," he said of pitching before family and friends. "I grew up here. I waited four years for it, it's pretty cool to finally get the opportunity to do that."
Leake was matched up against another San Diego native, Sean O'Sullivan. The two played together during their youth baseball careers.
O'Sullivan, making his third start of the season for the Padres, went six innings and allowed one run on five hits. He walked five and struck out one.
"That was kind of nice to have two things happen at once," Leake said. "I'm glad neither one of us got a loss. But wish I had gotten a win, but I'm glad we both pitched good."
Chapman wasn't as happy with his outing.
"It was a fastball like I throw everybody," the Reds closer said of the pitch to Denorfia. "I just threw a fastball and he hit a home run and there's nothing I can do."
With the Reds leading 1-0, Chapman (3-4) walked leadoff batter Yonder Alonso. Denorfia then drove a 98 mph first-pitch offering from Chapman over the center-field fence 423 feet away to deal the Reds their fourth straight loss.
"He's not going to do anything tricky," Denorfia said. "He's going to throw it 100 mph. You have to be ready for the fastball. You have to sit on the fast ball.
"It was pretty sweet. It was one of those when you hit it hard on that part of the bat, you don't even feel the vibration, it felt great," Denorfia said of the first game-ending home run of his career and third walk-off hit of his career.
Chapman was disappointed that he walked Alonso.
"It bothered me because he was left-handed," Chapman said. "I walked him and after that I had to just continue going."
It was Chapman's fourth blown save of the season on his fifth home run allowed.
"It sounded great off the bat," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I say 80 percent of home runs you know it from the sound no matter who is pitching. But that sound tonight on his homer there doubt about it."
Luke Gregerson (5-5) pitched the ninth for the win.
Reds center fielder Derrick Robinson led off the fifth with a triple off the fence in left-center. He scored when Cesar Izturis hit a grounder to first, which Alonso grabbed, touched first base for the putout then fired home, but Robinson just beat the throw to catcher Nick Hundley.
That snapped a scoreless streak of 22 innings for the Reds going back to the second inning of Saturday night's game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. They have scored just three runs in their last four games.
"O'Sullivan hung in there and made some pitches where he had to," Black said. "He battled and gave up only one run."
Cincinnati loaded the bases in the fifth, but O'Sullivan got Devin Mesoraco to hit a grounder to short.
The teams combined to leave 15 runners on base through the first five innings — nine for the Reds. They also left the bases loaded in the first, while the Padres left them loaded in the third.
Leake got Mark Kotsay to ground to first baseman Joey Votto with the bases loaded to end the third.
The only batter to reach against Leake after the third was Everth Cabrera, who got on with an infield single leading off the fifth, but he was caught stealing by Mesoraco. Cabrera had two of the four hits off Leake.
NOTES: Reds OF Shin-Soo Choo is listed as day to day after twisting his left ankle stealing second Sunday in Los Angeles. ... Reds 2B Brandon Phillips was also not in the starting lineup Monday. Reds manager Dusty Baker had told Phillips before Sunday's game that he would get the day off. "I like to give the guys from the All-Star team a day off even after they get back after the All-Star game," Baker said. Cesar Izturis got the start at second for the Reds. ... Reds P Jonathan Broxton, on the DL since June 15 (flexor mass sprain in his right elbow) will begin a rehab assignment in Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday ... Padres OF Carlos Quentin tweaked his left knee on a swing in Sunday's game in Arizona and was out of the starting lineup, but available to pinch hit.