Arroyo dominates Rox backed by Bruce's bat

Righty throws eight scoreless as right fielder goes 3-for-4, homers

Arroyo dominates Rox backed by Bruce's bat

CINCINNATI -- After a dreadful outing in Cleveland last week, Bronson Arroyo said he didn't have the "weapons" to be successful on that night. So on Monday, when he tossed eight shutout innings against the potentially lethal Rockies offense, he must have felt much better about what he had to work with.

Right?

"I didn't particularly have amazing stuff," Arroyo said after limiting Colorado to four hits on the way to a 3-0 win at Great American Ball Park. "But it was one of those games where things just worked out."

Although the 36-year-old right-hander played it off like he simply had luck on his side on Monday, Arroyo spent most of the night making the game look easy. In eight innings of work, he threw just 86 pitches, 65 of which went for strikes. He tossed eight or fewer pitches in four different innings, and he didn't allow a runner to reach scoring position until the seventh.

But according to Arroyo, "That's baseball, man.

"I could throw the same stuff up there two nights in a row, probably have a pitching machine, and get completely different results. It's just some days, man, the ball bounces your way. I went out there tonight with about the same stuff as I had in Cleveland. I just had a lower pitch count tonight. I didn't grind as hard against some guys."

The hitters Arroyo dominated on Monday were a little more complimentary.

"He threw the ball well tonight," Todd Helton said. "Same old guy, just slings it up there. The ball's moving a lot. But we needed to go deeper in some counts and some at-bats and make him work a little bit harder. But those pitches are tough to lay off on."

Three innings in, Monday night's game had the feeling of a pitchers' duel in the making. Arroyo gave up a hit in each of the first two frames, but made it through three innings on 36 pitches. Colorado starter Tyler Chatwood also gave up a pair of hits and a walk that never materialized into a threat.

In the final at-bat of the third inning, though, Chatwood agitated his right triceps in the process of striking out Shin-Soo Choo. He returned for the fourth inning, but wasn't quite the same, and the Reds offense took advantage on a night when runs were at a premium.

After Chatwood struck out the first two batters of the inning, Jay Bruce notched his second single of the game and proceeded to steal second base. That stolen base -- his first of the season -- proved vital, as Todd Frazier followed it up with a bloop single that scored Bruce and gave the Reds a 1-0 lead.

"There wasn't much offense going on, and in order to get that one run was huge," Bruce said. "Bronson, that's all he needed. He did a great job."

Chatwood ended the inning by inducing an Xavier Paul groundout, but he wouldn't return to the mound, despite throwing just 64 pitches. He came on and bunted with two outs and nobody on in the top of the fifth before leaving the game with right triceps soreness.

Meanwhile, Arroyo continued to cruise. The fifth was his second six-pitch inning of the night, and he needed just eight more to get through the sixth. It wasn't until the seventh when he almost ran into trouble because of a bizarre play that allowed the a Rockies baserunner to reach second base for the first time all night.

With Michael Cuddyer on first after a one-out single, Arroyo threw a changeup in the dirt that Helton managed to line straight to Frazier at third. After a perfect throw to first with Cuddyer running, the Reds thought it was an inning-ending double play, as Helton's liner never hit the ground. However, the play was ruled a 5-3 putout, prompting manager Dusty Baker to argue the call to no avail.

At the time of the play, there were just three umpires on the field because home-plate umpire Kerwin Danley had left the game between the second and third innings after getting hit in the head by a bounced Chatwood pitch in the first.

In the following at-bat, Wilin Rosario hit what looked like a game-tying hit down the right-field line, but Bruce ran it down and ended the inning.

"That was the only scary part of the game," Arroyo said. "That ball could have got away from him. He ran that down in the corner, and that would have been a shame, because I felt like we had a double play."

After the close call, Arroyo used just four pitches to burn through the top of the eighth. And with a one-run lead, manager Dusty Baker told his starter that his night was done, as he planned to bring in Aroldis Chapman to finish the game. By the time the Reds added two more runs on a Bruce homer in the bottom of the eighth, Baker said it was too late to let Arroyo go back out to try and finish the shutout.

"We decided that [Arroyo] had done his job big time," Baker said. "If you could have told him that he was going to get eight shutout innings against that club, he would have been more than happy. So we just figured we were kind of pressing our luck with the tough hitters they had coming up there."

Chapman came on and earned his 15th save of the season with three strikeouts. The win moved the Reds to 36-22 on the year, putting them alone in second place in the National League Central with a Pirates' loss. It was the Reds' third shutout in the last four games, and it set the tone for the rest of the week, Bruce said.

"It was a big win," Bruce said. "They're playing well this year as a team. They've got a lot of weapons, so it was good to get the first one."

Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.