CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 01: Luke Gregerson #57 of the San Diego Padres throws a pitch during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 1, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Ryan Ludwick homered and drove in four runs for the second consecutive game, and the Cincinnati Reds kept rolling along with a 6-4 win over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night.
Ludwick drove in the go-ahead run twice to lead the Reds (63-41) to their 19th victory in 22 games. Despite playing without Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, they moved 22 games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 5, 2010.
The Reds remained three games ahead of second-place Pittsburgh in the NL Central. The Pirates open a three-game series in Cincinnati on Friday.
Zack Cozart also homered and Bronson Arroyo pitched six innings to earn his third straight win and fourth in five starts. Arroyo (7-6) allowed seven hits and four runs with two walks and one strikeout.
Sean Marshall worked a scoreless seventh and Jonathan Broxton a spotless eighth in his Cincinnati debut after being acquired Tuesday from Kansas City. Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his 23rd save.
Chase Headley homered for the Padres, who have lost three of four. They couldn't capitalize on the absence of Votto and Phillips, who form the right side of Cincinnati's regular infield.
Votto is on the disabled list following knee surgery, and Phillips sat out with a strained left calf.
San Diego led 4-3 when Drew Stubbs singled with one out in the fifth off Padres starter Kip Wells. Jay Bruce drove in Stubbs with a double down the right-field line. Dale Thayer got Scott Rolen to fly out before Ludwick lined a go-ahead single to right.
Arroyo walked Alexi Amarista on four pitches leading off the game. After Will Venable flied out, Headley hit a 1-0 pitch an estimated 406 feet into the right-field seats for his career-high 13th homer. His previous best was 12 in 2009.
Cozart, who opened Cincinnati's 6-0 win July 6 in San Diego with a home run off Wells, started the bottom of the first with his 11th homer. Ludwick gave Cincinnati a 3-2 lead by following Rolen's two-out walk with a drive to left on a 2-0 pitch for his 19th homer and fourth in five games.
San Diego took a 4-3 lead with a two-run fourth, stringing together consecutive two-out singles by Wells, Amarista, Venable and Headley.
Wells (2-4) spent 10 games with the Reds in 2009, his last major league appearances before this season. He allowed five runs and five hits with four walks in 4 1-3 innings.