Reds fall despite Dunn's dingers
Arroyo struggles, defense commits three errors in loss
CINCINNATI -- Other than a pair of home runs by Adam Dunn, the Reds didn't have much to feel good about after their 11-4 loss to the Rangers on Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.Starter Bronson Arroyo opened with another bad first inning before eventually taking his eighth loss of the season, his eighth straight start without a win. With the Reds trailing, 7-4, after eight innings, the bullpen gave up four runs in the ninth to put the game out of reach. Cincinnati batters not named Dunn recorded only five hits and one RBI. Three of the team's most reliable defensive players made errors. And, of course, the Reds lost two games out of three to the team with the worst record in baseball. "It's tough, man, because the season is so long, you feel like at some point, you're going to put a nice streak together," Arroyo said. "The last couple of weeks, we've definitely been playing some better baseball and aren't making as many mistakes. And to play against a first-place team and look pretty good [the Reds took two of three games from first-place Cleveland last weekend] and then come right back and give it back, it's tough." Ken Griffey Jr., who scored a run and went 1-for-4 with a walk and two called strikeouts, said that the Reds continue to do everything they can to improve. "We're trying," Griffey said. "Everybody is trying. In the bullpen, the guys say to everybody, 'Hey, how do you pitch this guy?' 'How do you do this?' They're trying to get better. Everybody is trying to get better. "Our record doesn't show it, but we've done some good things here. We've done some bad things here. But I think that the effort has always been there. We just haven't been able to be as successful as we'd want to." Arroyo got things off to a rough start for the Reds. The first three batters the right-hander faced in the first inning went on to score, and the Rangers went on to score a run in all but one of Arroyo's six innings. Arroyo finished having given up seven runs -- six earned -- on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts. He has allowed six or more earned runs in five of his past six starts.
Arroyo's biggest problems on Sunday came with two outs. Three times in six innings, he retired the first two batters he faced, only to give up a run before retiring the third. He gave up five two-out hits, one two-out walk and one two-out hit-by-pitch."No doubt about it, it's frustrating," said Arroyo, who has not won a start since May 6. "You've got to handle that six out of seven times in a game to be able to put up a good number. You can't go out every other inning or two out of three innings and give up that big hit with two outs. You can't continually let one run, one run, one run get put on the board." Manager Jerry Narron said that he and the coaching staff have analyzed film with Arroyo in an effort to find any mechanical changes in his motion from last season, but they have yet to find any.
"We've gone over it, split-screened it, trying to see if there's anything mechanically, and if there is, we can't find it," Narron said. "He just needs to make better pitches."He's a good pitcher. He'll come out of it. He went through a stretch last year where he didn't get any wins. He'll come out of it." Defensively, the Reds watched second baseman Brandon Phillips leave after three innings with a bruised hand, courtesy of a errant fastball by Texas starter Kevin Millwood. Alex Gonzalez, who had been scheduled to have the day off to rest his sore right hamstring, entered to play shortstop, and Juan Castro moved from short to second. Both Gonzalez and Castro went on to make errors. Catcher David Ross, whose defense has proven far more valuable than his offense this season, committed his own error in the top of the first inning. Offensively, other than Dunn, Millwood had his way with the Reds lineup through most of his six innings. He finished with four earned runs -- three from Dunn's shots -- on six hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts to take his third win of the year. With 19 homers, Dunn ranks second in the National League, behind only Milwaukee's Prince Fielder.
After starting the homestand 3-1 against first-place American League teams, the Reds dropped four of their last five games to end up 4-5 for the week."Losing is not fun," said Griffey, who was batting .333 with six home runs in his last 10 games heading into Sunday. "I never thought we'd be in the position we're in now. "It's up to everybody in here to try not to do more than what [they're] capable of doing. Everybody, including me, has been at fault in that -- going outside, trying to do a little too much. Sometimes it works, sometimes it backfires. It's not a lack of effort anywhere on this team for why we're in this situation."
Patrick Allegri is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.