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Padres can't climb out of early hole

Padres can't climb out of early hole

CINCINNATI -- Josh Geer didn't allow many runners to reach in his start Monday against the Reds. But the runners that did weren't on the basepaths for very long. Geer gave up just four hits -- three of them home runs -- in a 6-4 loss to the Reds.

"That's what killed me today, the long ball," Geer said. "Three pitches, five runs and that's pretty much what happened."

The balls were flying out of Great American Ball Park. Unfortunately for the Padres, more flew out for the Reds. While the Padres smashed three homers in the game, the Reds drilled three out, and used them to build an early lead they wouldn't relinquish.

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Although Geer gave up three homers, the first one he allowed was the most critical. In the first inning, Geer let the first two Reds runners reach before striking out Joey Votto, who was ejected for arguing a called third strike. Yet, the brief delay couldn't stop Geer from escaping the inning unscathed; the Reds' next batter, Brandon Phillips, made it 3-0 with one swing of the bat.

"That can be, at times, devastating," Padres manager Bud Black said of multi-run homers. "That one today came back to hurt him."

From there, the Reds continued to hurt Geer with the long ball. He allowed a solo shot in the third to Edwin Encarnacion and another one in the fourth to Johnny Gomes that made it 5-0.

Geer has now allowed 27 home runs this season, and said he knew about the frequency with which balls tend to leave the Reds stadium.

"You still have to go with your game plan," Geer said. "I'm just going through a hard time with home runs right now."

Geer, who left after the fourth inning, has now lost his past four starts. Black said it's common for a pitcher like Geer, who doesn't strike out or walk many batters, to allow more home runs than most. But it's become excessive.

"He's got to clear that hurdle of the home run," Black said. "This guy has proven in the Minor Leagues that he's a winning pitcher."

With the Padres trailing 5-0 after Geer left in the fourth, the Padres began their own home run derby to get back into the game. After scoring a run in the fourth, they made it interesting in the fifth. Everth Cabrera knocked a solo shot out to right and Adrian Gonzalez followed with one to left to make it 5-3.

"At that point, when we're up like that, I'm just thinking about going after guys with the fastball to get them to put it in play," Reds starter Homer Bailey (2-2) said. "Gonzalez has a lot of pop the other way."

Gomes answered in the Reds' sixth with his second homer of the game to right-center off Edward Mujica to pad the lead.

From there, the Reds' bullpen took over, and aside from a solo shot by Kevin Kouzmanoff in the ninth, the Padres didn't threaten.

Steve Gartner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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