CINCINNATI -- They say it's not how you start, but how you finish.
For the Padres this season, the way they start has often been indicative of the way they finish.
San Diego is getting outscored, 82-38, in the first inning, by far its most lopsided inning. The club surrendered runs in the opening frame of the first three contests in Cincinnati, a stat manager Bud Black chalked up to subpar starting pitching and hot bats from the opposition.
"I think we're going up against a team that's swinging the bat well," Black said. "There's some guys that have done a nice job for them over the last month or so. On the other end of that, we've made some pitches that are not in great spots and they've taken advantage of it."
The Padres are 26-24 when they score first, but hold an 18-38 record when they allow the first run.
Luckily for the Padres, they often answer back.
The club is outscoring its opponents, 37-33, in the second inning, 53-46 in the third and 54-42 in the fourth. The Padres' 123 runs in July was 10th best in the Majors.
"When we're down, we come up and we give good at-bats," first baseman Yonder Alonso said. "I feel like the past three days here, we've given good at-bats, so hopefully we can eliminate a little bit of those mistakes and those childish mental mistakes in the first couple innings. Hopefully that will change the game a little bit."