Thomas Howard gives two reasons for his hitting surge: He’s playing regularly and he’s playing against the San Diego Padres.
Howard, who was drafted by the Padres in 1986 and traded to Cleveland in 1992, had a tie-breaking triple in the fifth inning Thursday that carried the Reds to a 3-2 victory and series sweep of the Padres at Cincinnati.
“I get up a little extra for the Padres,” Howard said. “Teams you get traded from, it seems you always get ready for them. I played with a lot of those guys in the minor leagues, so they know where to play me and what I like to do. So it’s a challenge to get hits against those guys.”
Bob Tewksbury (9-8), who gave up four extra-base hits in the fifth inning, suffered the loss.
The Padres, who fell behind the Dodgers in the West, managed only 14 hits in the last two games against the Reds.
Atlanta 8, Philadelphia 5--Marquis Grissom extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a single, a double and a homer, leading the Braves at Philadelphia.
Terrel Wade, making his fifth consecutive start after 28 relief appearances, gave up one run and six hits in five plus innings to gain the victory. Wade (4-0) struck out six and walked two.
Florida 7, Colorado 6--Pinch-hitter Alex Arias hit a two-run double and Jeff Conine followed with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to help the Marlins hand the Rockies their 10th consecutive loss at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami.
Jay Powell (3-0) pitched one scoreless inning. Robb Nen pitched a scoreless ninth for his 24th save.
Baltimore 18, Oakland 5--Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar and Bobby Bonilla homered and Chris Hoiles hit two solo home runs to lead the Orioles to an easy victory over the Athletics at Oakland.
Mike Mussina (15-8) won his fourth start in a row as he improved his road record to 9-2 and his career mark against the A’s to 10-2.
Geronimo Berroa, Matt Stairs and Mike Bordick homered for the A’s.