- Associated Press - Thursday, May 15, 2014

CINCINNATI (AP) - Ian Kennedy wasn’t very sharp on a cool afternoon with no margin for error.

Brandon Philips hit a three-run homer off Kennedy, and Johnny Cueto pitched a three-hitter for his second shutout of the season, leading the Cincinnati Reds over the Padres 5-0 Thursday in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

The teams were making up their game rained out Wednesday night.

Cueto (4-2) lowered the majors’ best ERA to 1.25 and extended one of the best season-opening stretches in more than 100 years. He has three complete games and two shutouts in his first nine starts.

“It’s a continuation of what he’s been doing all season,” Padres manager Bud Black said.

Cueto is the first major league pitcher to go at least seven innings and allow two or fewer runs in each of his first nine starts since the Philadelphia Athletics’ Harry Krause in 1909, according to information provided the Reds by the Elias Sports Bureau.

Also, he is the first Reds pitcher to go at least seven innings in each of his first nine starts since Bucky Walters in 1944.

San Diego is last in the NL in batting average (.220) and runs (118). The Padres were blanked for the seventh time, the most in the majors. Cueto fanned eight, walked two and threw 116 pitches.

Phillips homered off Kennedy (2-5) and Zack Cozart singled home a pair of runs, part of a three-hit game for the shortstop.

Kennedy had been tough on the road and tough on the Reds throughout his career. The right-hander was 2-0 in his first three road games this season and had been 3-0 in four career starts against Cincinnati, holding the Reds to one earned run or less three times.

Kennedy had never started a day after his scheduled turn was rained out, and his pitches weren’t very good.

“I didn’t have my best curve, I didn’t have my best change-up or fastball command,” Kennedy said. “It felt like a battle from the start.

“I just didn’t have that stuff. One of those days, I guess.”

He repeatedly pitched out of trouble early on, forcing the Reds to strand four in scoring position during the first three innings.

The Reds got runners on first and third with two outs in the fifth. Cozart singled and Skip Schumaker fell behind in the count before getting a single with two outs to bring up Phillips, who connected for his third homer. In his last nine games, Phillips is 14 for 35 with seven doubles, two homers and five multihit games.

Story Continues →