CINCINNATI -- Bronson Arroyo struggled.

Having been at the top of his game throughout his previous six outings, Arroyo didn't resemble that pitcher much at all Sunday afternoon in an outing that ended in an 8-1 loss. It also prevented the Reds from sweeping the Milwaukee Brewers.

"They just beat us today," manager Dusty Baker said.

Yet the Reds might well have turned Arroyo's up-and-down performance into a win had they cashed in on one or two of the scoring opportunities they had early. Their troubles with runners in scoring position left the Brewers in position to win the ballgame.

The best example of that came in the fourth inning. At the time, the Reds trailed, 4-0, after the Brewers touched up Arroyo for three runs in the top of the inning. In the bottom of the inning, the Reds loaded the bases against right-hander Seth McClung, who had his own struggles.

"That inning was big -- real big," Baker said.

It was big indeed.

With no outs, second baseman Danny Richar knocked in one run on a groundout, and the Reds reloaded the bases when McClung hit catcher Ryan Hanigan with a pitch. That brought on right-hander Todd Coffey, a former Reds reliever, to relieve McClung and face Arroyo.

Baker could have pinch-hit for Arroyo but didn't. So there was Arroyo, in a position to help himself and get the Reds back into the ballgame. If he couldn't get a base hit, Arroyo said, all he wanted to do was avoid hitting into a double play.

He succeeded in doing the latter as Arroyo struck out against Coffey.

"He threw me a slider that I didn't see break until after I'd swung," Arroyo said.

Now with two outs, right fielder Jerry Hairston Jr. came to the plate to face Coffey. Coffey struck out Hairston, too.

"He threw some quality pitches," Baker said of Coffey. "He didn't center any fastballs. He threw some quality sliders to Bronson and to Jerry, too. That's the best I've seen him throw."

With that threat silenced, Arroyo needed to keep the Brewers, who are trying to keep their flickering postseason aspirations alive, from building onto their 4-1 lead.

He didn't succeed there, though.

Arroyo might have succeeded, however, had Richar been able to turn the backend of a potential double play in the top of the fifth. Instead, he overthrew Joey Votto at first base. Richar's error allowed the Brewers, who had the bases loaded, to score a pair of runs.

A 4-1 deficit grew to 6-1.

"Yeah, I needed that play to kind of keep us close and give us some hope," Arroyo said of the botched double play.

Yet on this afternoon, Arroyo would need plenty more than that double play. The Reds could do little offensively, as five relievers held them to no runs on three hits.

"We didn't have a whole lot of offense today, and we gave them some runs," Baker said. "But you're not just going to keep beating a quality team like that."