Arroyo's second half starts with dud

Arroyo's second half starts with dud

Arroyo's second half starts with dud
CINCINNATI -- Coming off of an intense three-game sweep of the National League Central-rival Cardinals in a playoff-like atmosphere, Reds manager Dusty Baker was openly concerned about there being a letdown before his team faced the struggling D-backs.

Bronson Arroyo's mind certainly had no thoughts of letting his team down, but his body didn't cooperate. Arroyo, who lasted a season-low three innings during a 5-3 Reds loss to Arizona that snapped his team's six-game win streak, owned up that he did not have much to offer in his first start since the All-Star break.

"I've definitely never been a guy that enjoys days off. Sometimes, you come back from days off and feel great," Arroyo said. "Today, for whatever reason, I didn't have good stuff. I was humping up for 84-85 mph fastballs and that hasn't really happened to me all year. You just hope you can dial it in next time out and have better, crisper stuff."

Arroyo, who threw a three-hit complete-game shutout in his first-half finale on July 6 at San Diego, gave up five runs on eight hits, and had already allowed four runs and five hits through his first five batters.

The game started amid ominous news, when it was learned that team leader Joey Votto could miss up to a month because he needs arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. It didn't get any better for Cincinnati once it started.

After three straight singles loaded the bases for Arizona in the first inning, the big blow was Miguel Montero's three-run double to the left-field corner. Justin Upton followed with an RBI single to make it 4-0.

"They didn't hit Bronson real hard that first inning, but they found the holes," Baker said. "We're trying to figure out how to piece together seven innings without tearing up my whole bullpen, especially with Johnny [Cueto] coming back tomorrow from being out with a blister."

The Reds notched one run in the bottom of the first inning against D-backs rookie lefty Wade Miley. Todd Frazier, filling in for Votto, hit a two-out ground-rule to right-center field and scored on a Brandon Phillips RBI double to center field.

Two more Cincinnati runs scored in the second inning as Drew Stubbs' two-out, two-run single to left field scored Chris Heisey and Ryan Hanigan.

But leading off the Arizona third inning, Montero hit a full-count pitch from Arroyo into the right-field seats to make it a two-run game.

Arroyo, who had velocity issues last season as he battled through mononucleosis and back soreness, wasn't worried that he didn't feel strong this time.

"You can only come out of the bullpen with what you've got," Arroyo said. "You have to try and find a way to win. If it happens three times in a row, you'd be concerned."

Alfredo Simon, who got his first victory with Cincinnati against St. Louis on Sunday, returned Monday with three scoreless innings of relief to keep his team in the game. Bill Bray survived a three-walk seventh inning without allowing a run, and Jose Arredondo and Logan Ondrusek added a scoreless inning each.

"Their bullpen did the job against us and our bullpen did a good job against them to hold the score to where it was," Baker said. "It wasn't a very exciting night."

The D-backs came to town losers of three straight games after being swept by the Cubs while scoring all of three runs in the series.

"We should have won today's game, regardless of who is playing or not," Phillips said. "You've got to win games. It stinks that we lost today. They're a great team, but when they're down, you have to beat those guys. It was a tough loss for us today."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.