Andy Ashby had it all Tuesday night except for a complete game.
The Padres right-hander came within two outs of his fourth straight complete game as the San Diego Padres beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-1 Tuesday night. Greg Vaughn hit a grand slam and the Padres sent the Reds to their fourth straight loss.
Ashby (8-4) gave up eight hits, tied his career high with 11 strikeouts and didn't walk a batter before allowing consecutive singles with one out in the ninth. Manager Bruce Bochy felt Ashby was getting his pitches up, but was booed as he went out to replace him with relief ace Trevor Hoffman.
"I knew I was going to get it when I was heading out there," Bochy said. "Ash did such a great job, I'm sure a lot of people were anxious to see a complete game. But he had gone far enough."
"After I got the first out, then heck, I got 0-2 (to Willie Greene) and I didn't really finish the pitch. Bochy had seen enough. That's what Hoffy's down there for. He's been doing it all year, and that's a big win for us.
"I got a shot to go out there trying to finish it and I didn't," Ashby said. "It was probably a good thing, because it could have been a big inning there, maybe."
Hoffman struck out the last two batters for his 18th save this season and 26th straight dating back to last season.
Ashby was the first big leaguer this year to pitch three straight complete games, and a fourth would have pulled him within one of Randy Jones' team record.
"Ashby pitched a great game," said loser Brett Tomko (5-5). "There's probably not one pitcher in the league who could beat him right now."
Vaughn hit his 22nd homer of the season and fourth career grand slam with two out in the seventh off Tomko. The shot went an estimated 393 feet, deep into the left-field seats.
"Just to be out there when he's (Ashby) having his success is awesome because I think he's one of the toughest in the league right now," Vaughn said. "He's got great stuff and he's allowing us to score three or four runs to win games, and until our offense gets going, that's what it's going to take. And he's keeping us in all the time."
Vaughn said he saw only one fastball from Tomko all game. The homer came on a hanging curveball.
"Tomko did a great job of keeping us off balance all night, especially me," Vaughn said. "The one I hit he just happened to leave up a little bit."
Said Tomko: "One bad pitch leaves a bitter taste but it's not going to ruin my overall thoughts about this game."
The Padres loaded the bases on Steve Finley's single and walks to Wally Joyner and Ken Caminiti, all with two out.
The Padres have won seven of eight this season against the Reds, who lost heir fourth straight overall.
Tomko lost his fourth straight decision. He allowed five runs on six hits in 6 2-3 innings, walked a career-high seven and struck out four.
San Diego took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Andy Sheets tripled and scored on Carlos Hernandez's opposite-field single.
The Reds tied it in the sixth when Reggie Sanders singled, stole second and scored on Barry Larkin's two-out single.
Notes: Vaughn has one other grand slam with San Diego, on Aug. 16, 1996, against the New York Mets in Monterrey, Mexico. ... Padres backup catcher Greg Myers has a bone chip in his left wrist and will need to be in a cast for 4 to 6 weeks, general manager Kevin Towers said. Myers was hurt June 3 trying to tag Houston pitcher Sean Bergman and was put on the disabled list the next day. ... Tony Gwynn, who left Monday night's game with a strained left calf, is still expected to sit out until next Tuesday, when the Padres open a two-game home series against Los Angeles. ... Outfielder Mike Devereaux, who's played for six big-league clubs, signed a minor league contract with the Padres and will be assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Hoffman's streak of 26 straight saves tied former Red Rob Dibble for the sixth-longest streak of all-time.
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