CINCINNATI -- With the NL wild-card race tightening, the San Diego Padres couldn't afford another loss.
"Tonight was a must-win game," said Jake Peavy, who continued his domination of Cincinnati hitters, and Mike Piazza hit a three-run homer to help the San Diego Padres beat the Reds 10-0 Wednesday night.
"When you lose the first game of a series, you've got to come back and win the second if you want to win the series," he said.
The loss dropped Cincinnati 3½ games behind San Diego in the NL wild-card race. The Reds are 5-12 since moving within one percentage point of St. Louis in the NL Central on Aug. 24. They are now five games behind the Cardinals in the division.
San Diego remained 1½ games behind Los Angeles in the NL West, but saw its lead cut to 1½ games in the wild card with the Phillies' doubleheader sweep of the Braves.
Peavy (9-14) is 4-0 in six career starts against Cincinnati. In his only previous start against the Reds this year, he pitched a two-hitter in the Padres' 7-1 victory Sept. 2 in San Diego.
He allowed three hits over six innings on Wednesday.
"That was far enough," said Padres manager Bruce Bochy. "We had a fresh pen. Some of them haven't thrown in quite a while."
"It couldn't have worked out better," Bochy said. "They all got an inning of work."
Peavy threw 59 pitches, 41 of them for strikes.
"That was the most efficient game he's pitched," Bochy said.
Reds starter Kyle Lohse (2-3), also the loser in that Sept. 2 game, allowed seven runs and eight hits in 2 1/3 innings.
"He's given us good outings most of the year except for tonight. He just didn't have it tonight and they took advantage," said Reds manager Jerry Narron. "When you're facing a guy like Peavy, you can't afford to get down early, and that's what we did."
Lohse, who was acquired from Minnesota on July 31 and was given a chance to become a starter again after being demoted to the bullpen by the Twins, came within one of equalling a career high in runs allowed.
"It was just one of those nights," Lohse said. "It's unfortunate that it was against the team we're trying to gain on, but you can't sit here and dwell on it. I came out flat and they capitalized."
A four-run second inning, which included an RBI double by Peavy, drained the game of any drama that remained from the Reds' Tuesday night walk-off win that had shaved a game off San Diego's lead in the wild card race.
"When we put five runs on the board, that was awesome," Peavy said. "That made my job awfully easy."
The Reds had offered reduced price tickets and $1 hot dogs in an effort to draw fans for this crucial series. Attendance was announced as 21,602.
Blum's homer, his fourth, was off Lohse in the third, as San Diego took a 7-0 lead. Piazza's homer, his second in two games, was off reliever Brian Shackelford in the sixth and made it 10-0 to give him the team lead at 22.
Javier Valentin's 3-for-3 night was the only bright spot for the Reds. He refused to think that Cincinnati was out of postseason chances.
"The only thing we have to do is play our game and win them one at a time," Valentin said. "If we win the game we're playing that night, everything will take care of itself."
- Piazza's 22 homers are the most he has hit in a season since hitting 33 for the Mets in 2002.
- Eric Milton, who left Tuesday night's game after five innings with stiffness in his left elbow, got a cortisone shot Wednesday. He is expected to take his regular turn Sunday.
- Ken Griffey Jr. was out of the lineup for the seventh straight game since dislocating a toe on his right foot Sept. 4. "It's a little sore after running yesterday," said trainer Mark Mann.