CINCINNATI – Todd Frazier hit a two-run homer and Johnny Cueto overcame a pair of rare long balls to pitch into the eighth inning Thursday and lead the surging Cincinnati Reds to their 13th win in 14 games, 9-4 over the San Diego Padres.
Scott Rolen had three hits, Frazier had three RBIs and Jay Bruce drove in two runs, helping push the Reds to 23 games over .500 (64-41) for the first time since Sept. 4, 2010.
The Reds took three of four from San Diego and have won 20 of 23. They are 14-3 since All-Star first baseman Joey Votto left the lineup with a knee injury that required surgery and have won two straight since star second baseman Brandon Phillips was sidelined with a strained left calf.
Cueto (14-5), who gave up home runs for the first time in more than two months, allowed eight hits and four runs with one walk and nine strikeouts in 7 1-3 innings.
Cincinnati opened a 3½ game lead over idle Pittsburgh in the NL Central heading into a three-game weekend series between the two teams that is scheduled to start Friday.
San Diego catcher Eddy Rodriguez enjoyed a memorable major league debut, hitting a home run in his first plate appearance.
The Reds chased Padres starter Ross Ohlendorf while sending 12 batters to the plate during a six-hit, six-run second inning. Rolen started it with an infield hit. Frazier followed with his 13th homer and second in three games, a 408-foot drive into the left field seats.
Ryan Hanigan added an RBI double and Bruce had a bases-loaded, two-run single. Ohlendorf (3-2) also was called for a run-scoring balk before leaving after just 1 2-3 innings, the shortest outing by a San Diego starter this season.
Rodriguez, a former Reds minor leaguer who also has played in independent leagues, smacked a 1-2 pitch 416 feet into the left field seats for the first home run allowed by Cueto in 80 innings — the longest stretch in the majors this season — over 11 starts since Colorado's Todd Helton homered on May 25 in Cincinnati. The homer was the first by a right-hander allowed by Cueto since Washington's Ryan Zimmerman hit one on Aug. 17, 2011, a span of 169 innings.
Chase Headley cut Cincinnati's lead in half with a two-run single later in the inning, and Cameron Maybin added his sixth homer, a 423-foot solo shot to left with one out in the fourth inning. But the Reds increased their lead to 8-4 on RBI singles by Rolen and Zack Cozart in the bottom of the inning.
NOTES: The two teams combined to scored 52 runs in the four-game series, 35 by the Reds. ... For the second time in four games, the Padres set a season high for hits and runs allowed in one inning. They gave up five of each in the third inning of Tuesday's game they ended up losing 7-6. ... San Diego went 3-7 on their fourth road trip of 10 or more games this season. The Padres open a six-game homestand Friday with the first of three against the Mets. ... Reds RHP Nick Masset was scheduled to pitch an inning for Class-A Dayton during a rehab assignment. Masset has been on the disabled list since spring training with a sprained right shoulder.