Dunn propels Reds past Padres

Dunn propels Reds past Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Adam Dunn knows you're not supposed to hit many home runs in pitcher-friendly PETCO Park.

"It's definitely not a good home run hitter's park," he said. "There were a few hits [Friday] that would have gone out in 80 percent of other places."

But when Dunn gets ahold of one, it's pretty much 100-percent gone.

And he hit a pair of those no-doubt-about-it blasts against the Padres on Friday, propelling the Reds to an 8-3 win.

"When Dunner hits 'em, it doesn't matter [what ballpark it is]," manager Jerry Narron said.

And for once, it doesn't seem to matter what ballpark the Reds are playing in. Their well-documented struggles on the road appear to have subsided, for they are in the midst of their first three-game winning streak away from Great American Ball Park this season.

They had Dunn's power to thank for this latest win. Batting in the cleanup spot for just the sixth time this season, he lived up to his role with a pair of two-run shots.

"He really picked us up there," Narron said. "I kind of like him in the fourth spot."

Narron had plenty to like after Dunn stepped up against right-hander Brian Lawrence with the score tied at 1 and Ken Griffey Jr. aboard via an RBI double in the third.

Dunn deposited Lawrence's 2-1 pitch 423 feet away to the right-field seats to give the Reds a 3-1 lead.

And Dunn wasn't done.

In the fifth, he took Lawrence (5-11) deep yet again. This time it was a 2-2 slider that Dunn sent 387 feet out to right to make it 6-3.

"I hit them pretty good," Dunn said modestly. "Whenever I make good contact, it usually goes out of the park."

Dunn's good contact put right-hander Luke Hudson in good position to win his second straight start.

Hudson, pitching in front of about 60 friends and family members from his nearby hometown of Fountain Valley, Calif., was anything but dominant in this outing, as he allowed three runs on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts over five innings. He's still struggling to be efficient with his pitches, though his confidence in himself seems to have returned in the past week.

Still, Hudson (2-5) said he knows he has room for improvement.

"I felt like I was getting stronger as the game was going on," he said. "It's never easy to come out of a ballgame, when the team scores as many runs as we did. But that's what happens when you throw a lot of pitches and get deep into some counts."

Hudson had nothing to worry about in this outing, though. The offense clearly had his back.

"Whenever I make good contact, it usually goes out of the park."
-- Adam Dunn on his hitting

Even after Hudson left, the Reds kept piling on. Edwin Encarnacion, who had collected his first big-league RBI on a one-run double in the fifth, added his first career home run with a solo shot off Craig Breslow in the seventh to make it 8-3.

And though Dunn had two homers of his own in this game, raising his season total to 30, it was Encarnacion's dinger that he had the most interest in.

Before the Padres came to bat in the seventh, Dunn sought out the fan who caught Encarnacion's homer and offered to trade balls with him.

"It was getting kind of late in the game, and I didn't want that guy to leave," Dunn said. "So I took the ball out there and decided to make an exchange with him, and it ended up working."

But what didn't work was the pen the fan threw to Dunn to sign the ball he was offering up. Dunn struggled with the dry ink for several awkward moments as the rest of the players waited for the game to resume.

"His pen finally worked, and the main thing is [Encarnacion] got the ball," Dunn said.

And the Reds got the win with Dunn, who became the first Reds player to notch 30 home runs in back-to-back seasons since Dave Parker did so in 1985-86, providing the highlights.

"He's one of the best hitters in the game right now," Narron said of Dunn. "When you look at on-base percentage and total bases and you look at all the stats that are in vogue right now, he's right there near the top of them."

No matter what park he's playing in.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.