"I was down in the tunnel telling myself, 'Finish it,"' Livingston said. "I used my changeup effectively, threw inside when I needed to and used my off-speed stuff behind in the count. I think that kept them off-balance. I think that's why I got a lot of groundballs."
The Reds, who used seven relievers in a 12-7, 11-inning loss to San Diego on Friday, got just what they needed from Livingston (3-2). The left-handed rookie, who was 0-2 in his previous four starts, allowed four hits -- including two homers by Brian Giles -- with no walks and two strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings.
Reds manager Pete Mackanin wanted Livingston to finish the game, but he'll settle for an effort that spared his overworked bullpen.
"Every inning after the fifth inning, I was saying, 'One more inning, one more inning,"' Mackanin said. "With every inning, I got happier and happier."
San Diego manager Bud Black credited Livingston's sinker with helping to send his team to its third loss in four games and fourth on a seven-game road trip that ends Sunday.
"He did a good job changing speeds," Black said. "We hit some balls hard early in the game and a lot of grounders late. His sinker got better as the game went on."
Giles' second homer, a two-run shot, and third in his last two games chased Livingston. It was Giles' 17th multihomer game and first since connecting twice on Sept. 12, 2004, at Colorado.
Bill Bray got the final two outs in his first appearance for the Reds this season. Bray joined the team earlier in the day after being recalled from Triple-A Louisville.
Keppinger snapped a 1-all tie with a bases-loaded, two-run single in the seventh off Justin Hampson (2-3). The reliever reloaded the bases by walking Javier Valentin, and Alex Gonzalez greeted Mike Thompson with a two-run double.
San Diego's Justin Germano, making his first start against the team with which he made his major league debut in 2006, allowed at least one baserunner in each of the first five innings without giving up a run.
The Reds broke through against their former teammate in the sixth. Ken Griffey Jr. led off with a single and moved to second on Brandon Phillips' slow groundout to third. Adam Dunn was intentionally walked, and Keppinger lined a changeup for a run-scoring double to the wall in right-center.
"It seems like they've been doing that a lot," said Keppinger, who is hitting .354 in three stints with the Reds while making a combined 17 starts at four positions this season. "I think the best time to hit is when guys are on base. It opens up holes. In that at-bat, he doubled up on me. He gave me the same pitch in the same spot twice in a row. I put good wood on it."
The Reds traded Germano to Philadelphia on July 31, 2006, and the Padres claimed him on waivers from the Phillies on March 19.
"I probably should've tried a fastball in," said Germano, who allowed one run and five hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings.
Livingston faced the minimum 18 batters through the first six innings and one more than the minimum 24 through eight. He allowed a single in the second to Khalil Greene, who was erased on a double play.
Giles broke up the shutout bid with a tying homer on Livingston's first pitch of the seventh.
The Reds scored three runs in the eighth, two on an error by second baseman Marcus Giles. Valentin added an RBI infield single.
- The Padres placed C Michael Barrett on the 15-day disabled list and optioned RHP Jack Cassel to Triple-A Portland. They also recalled RHP Mike Thompson from Portland and purchased the contract of C Pete Laforest.
- The Reds optioned RHP Matt Belisle to Triple-A Louisville and recalled Bray.
- Reds CF Norris Hopper singled in the first inning to extend his career-high hitting streak to nine games.
- During the game, Cincinnati traded C Chad Moeller to the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash.