08/04/08 11:26 PM ET
An A for Arroyo as Reds beat Brewers
Righty ends Cincinnati's skid, wins 10th game of the year
By Justice B. Hill / MLB.com
He'd just played the star's role in a 6-3 victory on Monday night over the Milwaukee Brewers that shook the Reds out of a three-game funk.
Duplicating many of his recent performances, Arroyo resembled the Bronson Arroyo of a season ago.
"He was dealing," manager Dusty Baker said.
Baker's compliment might have understated what Arroyo's contribution was to this victory, the team's first win since it traded Ken Griffey Jr. last week.
For it wasn't just what Arroyo did with his arm -- not at all -- it was Arroyo's bat that played as much a part in this victory as anything else. Oh, of course, his bat would never trump his arm, but nobody can argue with how meaningful his contribution at the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning proved to be.
At the time, he and Brewers left-hander Manny Parra had filled the scoreboard at Great American Ball Park with zeros. Parra, in fact, had held the Reds hitless until Jolbert Cabrera jumpstarted the fifth with a single.
"The young man Parra had us eating out of his hands," Baker said.
But suddenly, inexplicably, Parra lost command of the strike zone. After Cabrera's single, he issued back-to-back walks to Jay Bruce and to David Ross that loaded the bases for Arroyo, one of the better hitting pitchers on the Reds roster.
Now, it was Arroyo the hitter vs. Parra the pitcher.
At one point in his at-bat, Arroyo had the count in his favor. On Parra's 2-2 pitch, he rifled a shot into the left-field corner. Arroyo's double scored a pair of runs, putting an end the duel of zeros on the scoreboard.
"I've been feeling good at the plate," Arroyo said. "Any time you can help the team out, especially with an RBI, is kind of lucky. But, if it can happen a few times, then you feel better about the whole game as a complete package."
That's a good way to put it, because Arroyo, whose season has been a struggle, was a complete package on Monday night.
"In this league, in the National League, it helps to help yourself -- to help your team -- to be able to hit," Baker said. "I mean, that was a huge hit."
Still, it wasn't hitting that the Reds needed most from Arroyo. They needed a well-pitched game. They got it, too. He crafted his finest performance since putting together six innings of shutout baseball against the Washington Nationals on the Fourth of July.
In dissecting the outing, Baker credited Arroyo's performance to a more effective use of the fastball. The veteran right-hander commanded the strike zone with the pitch, aside from a little glitch in his performance in the top of the sixth.
"A lot of people tend to say that when I'm throwing well," Arroyo said. "I like to think that the games I do well I probably throw more fastballs for strikes more often.
"I don't think it's that much more if it is at all."
No big deal, really. For whatever Arroyo was doing, it was working effectively -- whether it was with his arm and his bat.
By the time Arroyo took the mound in the sixth, he was sitting on a 4-0 lead, thanks to Joey Votto's RBI single that followed his double.
But he had no room to relax, not against the Brewers.
Neither did the Reds. They gave Arroyo a pair of insurance runs on rookie Jay Bruce's homer.
Arroyo left in the seventh with the Reds ahead, 6-1. He may have had a pair of RBIs, but that didn't do much to satisfy Arroyo. He had more important things on his mind.
"I'm happy about a win, man," he said, smiling.
Justice B. Hill is a senior writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.