Johnny Cueto pitched his fourth career complete game shutout, and Brandon Phillips pounded his third home run of the season as the Reds (18-20) blanked the Padres 5-0 Thursday afternoon.
Cueto (4-2) is the first pitcher to throw at least seven innings and allow two runs or less in each of his first nine starts since 1909 (Harry Krause). Cueto's 1.25 ERA also leads the majors.
"That guy needs to start getting some national attention," said Reds shortstop Zack Cozart. "Since I've been in the big leagues, he's pitching better than anybody I've seen."
It was Cueto's third complete game of the season and second complete game shutout. The Reds ace gave up just three hits, struck out eight batters and walked two. Cueto believes he is the best pitcher in the majors right now.
"Yes, because the numbers talk," said Cueto. "My numbers talk for me. Everybody else has to worry about their own numbers."
Brandon Phillips' three-run homer broke open a scoreless game in the bottom of the fifth. Phillips also doubled in the win. Zack Cozart drove in two more runs in the sixth with an RBI single in a breakout game for the struggling shortstop.
"I might have to go back awhile to see if there was a better game played [this year]," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "From starting pitching, defense, offense, to run production, it was terrific."
Billy Hamilton reached base twice. Todd Frazier extended his career-high hitting streak to 13 games. The Reds go for the series tonight against the Padres in a make-up game from Wednesday's rainout.
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