CINCINNATI — Francisco Mejía hit one off the foul pole. Manny Machado had another big hit off Trevor Bauer. The San Diego Padres were in position for a third straight victory with the NL's leading closer on the mound.
Kirby Yates came close to giving it up, but found the pitch he needed to finish it off.
Yates fanned Eugenio Suarez with the bases loaded Monday night, preserving a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds that reminded the Padres of the importance of having a dependable closer, even when he's not having his best day.
"The best thing about him is it doesn't matter how high-stress the situation, he settles in, he makes good pitches," manager Andy Green said. "That's a really good hitter, probably the guy they choose to have up in that moment, and to punch him out to end the game, it's clutch. It's Kirby."
Yates gave up three hits, including Josh VanMeter's RBI single. Suarez struck out swinging to end it, giving Yates his NL-leading 36th save in 39 chances.
"The way he approaches every batter, the way he approaches every inning is perfect," starter Eric Lauer said.
Bauer (10-10) recovered from one of the worst outings of his career by giving up three runs and fanning 11 in seven innings. San Diego scored one of the runs on José Peraza's fielding error in left field.
Bauer gave up a career-high nine runs in 4 1/3 innings of a 17-7 loss at Washington on Wednesday, getting hit hard in his final inning. He shrugged it off as an oddity.
"I thought I threw the ball really well in Washington," Bauer said. "That was just one of those innings that come out of nowhere."
Machado had an RBI single in the first inning, leaving him 10-for-15 in his career off Bauer with four homers, two doubles and six RBIs. Mejía connected in the fourth, his slicing fly ball deflecting off the foul pole in right to put San Diego ahead to stay. San Diego is three homers shy of the club record of 189 from 2017.
Lauer gave up Freddy Galvis' homer in four innings on a humid, 94-degree night. Luis Perdomo (2-3) fanned four in two innings.
The Padres had a run-saving play in the second inning. Left fielder Josh Naylor threw Suarez out at the plate as he tried to score from second on Peraza's single.
Lauer had trouble with his breaking pitches because his hand was so sweaty on the hot, humid night. He started waving his left hand to air dry it between pitches.
"I was sweating a little bit and just trying to get that grip," he said.
José Iglesias singled and extended his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest by a Reds player since Joey Votto's 17-game streak in 2017. Iglesias' career high is an 18-game streak in 2013.
Cincinnati's Aristides Aquino went 0 for 3 with a pair of strikeouts and was hit by a pitch. He homered 11 times in his first 17 games, a major league record for a rookie.
It was Bauer's 27th career game with at least 10 strikeouts and eighth this season. He's six shy of his career high of 221 strikeouts last season.
Reds left-handed reliever Amir Garrett served the seventh game of his eight-game suspension for precipitating a brawl against the Pirates on July 31.
Padres: Naylor was back in left field a day after he swung at a pitch and felt discomfort in his right side, forcing him to leave the game.
Reds: Outfielder Jesse Winker was out of the lineup for the fifth straight game because of upper back spasms. Center fielder Nick Senzel was a late scratch with a sore left elbow that was hit by a pitch on Sunday.
Padres: Cal Quantrill (6-3, 3.23 ERA) is 4-1 with a 1.31 ERA since the All-Star break that ranks third-best in the majors.
Reds: Sonny Gray (8-6, 2.98) is 5-1 with a 1.59 ERA in his last nine starts, including eight quality starts. He's been the victim of a blown save three times.
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