(Reuters) - Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto struck out nine batters in a 9-4 victory over the visiting San Diego Padres on Thursday to move into a share of the major league lead for wins this season with his 14th.
Cueto, who retired the first seven batters he faced, allowed eight hits over 7-1/3 inning for his fifth consecutive victory and ninth in his last 11 starts to help the Reds extend their lead atop the Major League Baseball (MLB) standings.
"You can see everybody is having fun and doing what they have to do," said Cincinnati third baseman Todd Frazier, who opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the second inning.
"You need to know your role. When everybody knows their role, it's fun to watch."
The Reds struck early with a six-run second inning but the Padres responded with four runs over the next two innings before Cueto settled down and stymied the San Diego lineup.
After a Cameron Maybin homer in the fourth inning cut the Reds lead to 6-4, Cueto retired 12 of the final 14 batters he faced before relief pitchers Logan Ondrusek and Jose Arredondo took over.
With the win, Cueto joins R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets, David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays and Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels as the only MLB pitchers with 14 wins this season.
The Reds, winners of 13 of their last 14 games, improved to 64-41 on the season and extended their lead atop the National League Central division to 3-1/2 games over the Pittsburgh Pirates, who they host for a three-game set this weekend.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)
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