SAN DIEGO (AP) – Aaron Harang threw eight strong innings against his hometown team, and Sean Casey and Javier Valentin homered as the Cincinnati Reds beat San Diego 9-1 on Saturday night, dropping the NL West-leading Padres to two games under .500.

The Padres (51-53) had their lead in the NL West cut to just one game over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who won 3-2 at the Chicago Cubs. It’s their smallest lead since May 26, when they had a half-game margin over Arizona.

The Padres have lost 11 of 12 overall and 34 of 52 since June 1, when they were 14 games over .500. San Diego has scored just four runs in the first two games of this series, against a staff that had the second-highest ERA in the majors, 5.52, coming into Saturday.

During the game, the Padres acquired catcher Miguel Olivo from the Seattle Mariners for catcher Miguel Ojeda and minor league right-handed pitcher Nathanel Mateo.

Harang (7-9), who was born in San Diego and still lives here in the offseason, improved to 3-0 in his career against the Padres. He held them to one run and seven hits, struck out four and walked one.

Valentin got his third RBI of the night when he homered off Scott Linebrink in the ninth, his 10th. It went an estimated 426 feet, the longest homer at Petco Park this year.

The Reds had eight extra-base hits. Adam Dunn, who hit two two-run homers in Friday night’s 8-3 win, doubled to right-center leading off the second against Pedro Astacio, and scored on Austin Kearns’ triple into the right-center gap.

Casey homered to right on a 3-2 pitch with one out in the fourth, his fifth, for a 2-1 lead.

Cincinnati scored three runs on just one hit in the fifth inning to take a 5-1 lead and chase Astacio (0-2). Astacio issued consecutive walks to Rich Aurilia and Ken Griffey Jr. with one out, then intentionally walked Casey with two outs to load the bases. Kearns walked to force in Aurilia, and Valentin hit a two-run single to right to chase Astacio.

Astacio threw 108 pitches in 4 2-3 innings. He allowed five runs and five hits, walked six and struck out two.

The Reds added two more runs on four straight one-out hits off Paul Quantrill in the sixth. Felipe Lopez hit a leadoff triple to the left-center gap and scored on Aurilia’s double to left-center. Aurilia scored on Dunn’s single. The Padres got out of the inning when Griffey was thrown out by Ryan Klesko trying to score on Casey’s fly out to left.

San Diego scored in the first on Brian Giles’ sacrifice fly, which scored Eric Young. Young hit a leadoff single, then took third on Mark Loretta’s single.

Notes: The Padres received $6 million from the Texas Rangers in the trade that got them RHP Chan Ho Park for slugger Phil Nevin. … Park will join the Padres in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. … The Padres threw out two runners at the plate. … Kearns left the game with a tight left hamstring after drawing a walk in the fifth. … Padres RHP Adam Eaton, on the DL since June 16 with a finger injury, threw a simulated game and could be activated on Tuesday. He’ll probably pitch from the bullpen at first in order to build his arm back up. … C David Ross made his debut for the Padres, starting against the Reds. … Harang is 0-for-40, the longest hitless skid for the Reds since Jack Billingham went 0-for-67 in 1973.

AP-ES-07-31-05 0112EDT


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