By BERNIE WILSON
SAN DIEGO — Padres manager Bud Black had talked to Tyson Ross once or twice that it was getting to be time that the lanky right-hander threw his first career shutout.
In his 55th career start, Ross got it, in dominating fashion.
Ross threw a 3-hitter for his first career shutout, struck out nine and walked none to help San Diego beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-0 Wednesday for its first series sweep since September. Ross got all the support he needed when Rene Rivera hit a 3-run single off big league ERA leader Johnny Cueto in the first inning.
“It’s special,” said the 27-year-old Ross, who’s in his second season with San Diego. “It’s the first time I’ve been able to finish. A couple of games I’ve gone eight innings and kind of ran out of gas but tonight I had enough in the tank and was able to finish.”
Ross (7-8) was dominating. He retired the first 11 batters before Todd Frazier singled to left. Frazier had two of the Reds’ three hits. Only Reds batter reached second, when Brayan Pena doubled with one out in the eighth. Ross then retired the side.
“I think that he really smelled the finish line, which was good,” said Black, a lefty who had 12 shutouts in 296 career big-league starts. “He’s been close a couple of times. He was there today. We talked just briefly after the eighth inning. There was no doubt in my mind he was going to go back out there and put up a zero.”
The Reds lost the last three games on 10-game trip after winning six out of seven, including a 4-game sweep of the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants before coming to San Diego.
“A frustrating team in general in that we came in playing really well and come out of it losing three straight,” manager Bryan Price said. “We had a chance to make up some ground on Milwaukee and St. Louis and we weren’t able to take advantage of it.”
The Padres beat the Reds 1-0 Monday despite getting one hit, then had a season-high 16 hits in an 8-2 victory Tuesday night.
The Padres, who tied their season high with their fourth straight win, hadn’t swept a series since Sept. 6-8 against Colorado.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the first, Rivera hit a blooper to the gap that hit off the heel of the glove of diving centerfielder Billy Hamilton and rolled away to give San Diego a 3-0 lead.