SAN DIEGO (AP) — With a throw and a swing, Jurickson Profar gave rookie MacKenzie Gore and the San Diego Padres all they needed to beat the staggering Cincinnati Reds.
Profar threw out Joey Votto at home and then hit a two-run homer for the Padres, who won 6-0 Wednesday to hand the Reds their ninth straight loss and their longest skid in five years.
Asked which play was bigger, Profar smiled and said: “Both. Anything that I can do to help the team.”
Profar’s homer in the fourth inning gave Gore (1-0) all the backing he needed for his first big league win, in his second start. The left-hander, who was the third pick overall in the 2017 draft, held the Reds to four hits in five innings, struck out seven and walked two to complete the three-game sweep.
Profar, the Padres’ left fielder, threw out Votto on the fly on Colin Moran’s single to end the fourth and keep the game scoreless. Profar homered to right off Vladimir Gutiérrez with two outs in the bottom of the inning to bring in Manny Machado. It was Profar’s fourth.
Profar has made 12 starts in left field, which was was a question mark coming into the season after Tommy Pham left as a free agent. Profar started at five positions last year, including all three outfield spots as well as first base and second base.
“I was anticipating that hit to me,” Profar said. “I always thought that I was a pretty good left fielder. It’s showing right now. I’m very happy with it. I did a lot of work in the offseason. I came in ready to play, ready to show that I can play.”
Gore was impressed. “That was huge. That was a great play. Jurickson played great today with the homer and he made that play,” Gore said.
“He looks like a natural outfielder now,” said skipper Bob Melvin, who also managed Profar with Oakland in 2019, when he played mostly second base. “We’re trying to keep him in one spot so he gets real comfortable there on the reads. Left can be a little bit different than right. It’s taken a lot off his plate just staying in one position and not having to come in the infield. Just swing the bat and do his thing. He’s gotten real comfortable out there.”
Machado was hit by a pitch on the left shoulder by Gutiérrez (0-3) leading off the fourth. On Tuesday night, Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson was knocked out of the game on a hard slide by Luke Voit. Some Reds players felt it was a dirty play by Voit and Tommy Pham, who played for the Padres the last two seasons, said he wanted to fight the Padres’ DH. The Reds asked for a review of the play but umpires ruled it was clean. Voit did not play Wednesday and Machado was the DH.
Gutierrez hit Padres catcher Jorge Alfaro with a pitch leading off the fifth. Alfaro stole second and scored on Trent Grisham’s double.
Melvin noted that Machado and Alfaro led off innings. “I don’t think there were any issues there,” Melvin said.
Gore said he wasn’t as efficient as he was in his MLB debut in a loss to Atlanta on Friday night, “but we made pitches when we needed to and guys played great. Relievers came in and did a great job. Just a really good day from us all around.”