San Diego manager Bud Black picked Bruce, reluctantly, and it paid off — for the Reds. Bruce hit a three-run homer with two out in the eighth inning to lift Cincinnati to a 5-3 victory over the Padres on Friday night.
"It's pick your poison," Black said. "They're both very good players. Votto's one of the best hitters in the game. You have to make a choice there, and we chose to face Bruce."
Logan Forsythe's tiebreaking RBI single put San Diego in front in the top half of the eighth, but the Reds rallied in the bottom half against Josh Spence (0-1).
Pinch-hitter Ramon Hernandez walked with one out and pinch-runner Brandon Phillips moved to second on pinch-hitter Edgar Renteria's short groundout to Spence. Joey Votto was intentionally walked and Bruce responded with a drive into the seats in right for his 24th homer.
Bruce hit a cut fastball, Spence said.
"Right down the middle — not where I wanted to put it," he added.
Bruce also doubled in a run in the fourth for Cincinnati, which has won three straight games. Bill Bray (3-2) got the final out of the eighth, and Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 23rd save.
Mat Latos pitched seven effective innings for San Diego, but had to settle for a no-decision. The right-hander gave up two runs and four hits, struck out five and walked one in his second consecutive impressive outing after going 0-2 in his previous five decisions.
"The plan is to go out and attack — be as aggressive as possible," said Latos, who used his entire repertoire against the Reds. "Every ball they hit tonight was hit hard, but I was able to get away with some. I didn't throw the kitchen sink, but if I did, they still would have hit it."
Latos also allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings in his last start, a 7-3 win Sunday at Pittsburgh.
"He threw the ball well tonight," Black said. "He threw well in Pittsburgh. They stressed him a couple of times, but he made pitches and got out of it."
Bronson Arroyo made a pair of errors, but pitched six effective innings for Cincinnati. The soft-tossing right-hander allowed two runs, one earned, and six hits. He also struck out six, walked two and hit a batter.
The Padres grabbed the lead in the first, taking advantage of Arroyo's unusual error. Arroyo, last year's Gold Glove pitcher, missed first base and turned his right ankle on Jason Bartlett's one-out grounder to first baseman Votto.
Cameron Maybin then walked and Bartlett moved to third on Jesus Guzman's grounder, setting up Hudson's RBI single to short left-center field.
Hundley, reinstated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, led off the second with a 406-foot home run to left-center field, his fourth of the season and first since April 17 at Houston.
Hundley was placed on the DL on July 8 with a right elbow strain that required arthroscopic surgery. He was activated after playing seven games with Double-A San Antonio on a rehab assignment.
"It's good to be back," said Hundley, who was intentionally walked in the eighth and finished a triple short of hitting for the first cycle in the Padres' 43-year history. "I put in a lot of work down there."
Notes: Reds SS Zack Cozart spent part of his 26th birthday Friday undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left (non-throwing) elbow. ... Cairo's seventh-inning triple was the 1,000th hit of his career. ... The Padres optioned C Luis Martinez to Triple-A Tucson and sent RHP Ernesto Frieri to Tucson for a 30-day rehabilitation assignment. ... RHP Tim Stauffer, San Diego's starter on Saturday, is 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA in three games, two starts, at Great American Ball Park. ... RHP Homer Bailey, Cincinnati's scheduled starter, allowed five runs and six hits in three innings in a 10-7 loss to Colorado on Monday.