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Peavy nearly unhittable in series finale

Peavy nearly unhittable in series finale

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SAN DIEGO -- Rookie outfielder Drew Macias doesn't have nearly enough service time to know a good Jake Peavy start from a bad one, but he certainly has a better idea of just what the former looks like now.

"That was awesome. The way he located the ball, the way the ball moved for him today ... I knew already that he was pretty dirty," Macias said. "That shows you what kind of pitcher he really is."

On a lot of fronts, as Peavy made good use of his 121 pitches on Sunday in dispensing with the Reds, earning a complete-game victory in a 3-1 Padres win over the Reds that completed a three-game sweep at PETCO Park.

Not only did Peavy allow one run on four hits with eight strikeouts and no walks, but he did so by only throwing 29 balls. Even during his 2007 Cy Young Award winning year, Peavy didn't have outings where he faced more batters (30) than he threw balls.

"That's one of the best ball-strike ratios I've seen from Jake," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "Jake never let up, never gave them an opportunity to gain any momentum."

Really, the Padres (16-22) won by two runs Sunday, though it never felt like they were in any kind of danger against the Reds (20-17), who were swept for the first time in a three-game series in San Diego for the first time since June of 2000.

Peavy's outing was important not only in the sense that it gave him his first victory since April 16, but that it came on the heels of a the Padres' 16-inning victory over the Reds on Saturday -- and part of early Sunday morning, as the game ended at 12:20 a.m.

The Padres used seven relievers in that game, getting a combined 10 1/3 shutout innings, rendering several relievers unable to pitch on Sunday. What the Padres needed most was a long outing by Peavy, especially with an off-day on Monday.

He gave them that and more.

"They needed it ... those guys are beat-up," Peavy said of the bullpen. "As a starter, you always want to finish what you started. You're aware of your surroundings. I wanted to attack the strike zone and have done that the last four starts. I'm trying to be aggressive."

That tact worked well on Sunday, as Peavy allowed a leadoff double to Chris Dickerson in the first inning and then retired the next 17 hitters he faced until Dickerson hit a home run to right field with one out in the sixth inning.

No matter, as Peavy, using all of his pitches including an effective changeup, got three quick outs in the seventh inning and then, with a runner on and one out in the eighth inning, got Paul Janish to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

At that point, there really wasn't much of a discussion of whether Peavy (3-5) was going to try and finish the game, at least not on Black's end.

"I didn't feel that he was taxed, his body language ... Jake had the game under control," Black said. "I thought that he was throwing as well in the eighth as in the first."

And maybe better in the ninth inning as the Reds got a runner on and had the tying run at the plate in Jay Bruce. Peavy threw two 94-mph fastballs during that at-bat before striking him out with a nasty slider to end the game.

"[Peavy] can throw his slider and fastball in any count," Cincinnati third baseman Jerry Hairston said. "He does a pretty good job hiding the ball, too. He's their ace for a reason. He's been a good pitcher for a long time."

There wasn't much offense on Sunday, not from the Reds and not from the Padres as well as Cincinnati starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo (5-3), who allowed consecutive two-out RBI singles to Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jody Gerut in the first inning but little else.

Arroyo stuck around until the eighth inning when Kouzmanoff led off the inning with his first home run in 92 at-bats going back to April 18 in Philadelphia. Kouzmanoff went 6-for-13 with three RBIs in the series.

"You have your good days and your bad days," said Kouzmanoff, who raised his average to .237.

Peavy, who had gone five consecutive decisions without a victory, knows that better than anyone. Since allowing five runs in five innings in a loss to Pittsburgh on April 26, a start where afterward he vowed to be more aggressive, he has allowed five earned runs in his past 30 innings for a 1.50 ERA.

"This is what drives us," Peavy said.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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