Bronson Arroyo started his professional career in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. On Wednesday, he treated them like minor leaguers, allowing five hits and a pair of walks in 7 2/3 innings. It dropped his earned run average to 4.30 as he left with a 3-0 lead.
The hard luck Pirates drafted Arroyo out of high school in 1995 but let him go on waivers after he was 9-14 in parts of three seasons (2000-2002). He found himself with the Boston Red Sox and helped pitch them to a World Series title in 2004.
He didn't start the game very well. He walked the leadoff hitter, Akinori Iwamura but stabbed a smash back through the middle and turned it into a double play.
"I couldn't hit my spots," Arroyo said. "I was so far off Ryan Hanigan told me he was just going to put the target down the middle. That double play was huge. There were two out and nobody on instead of runners on first and third with no out. I even missed my spot on the third batter, (Andrew McCutcheon) but got the ground out. Sometimes you feel a little funky out there,"
His bunt single in the second inning loaded the bases and Drew Stubbs scored on Orlando Cabrera's sacrifice fly for the only run he needed. Miguel Cairo hit a home run off Pirate starter, Ross Ohlendorf in the fifth. But Arroyo's ability to bunt was a key to the Reds sixth inning run. He moved Ryan Hanigan to second and Cabrera plated the catcher with a sharp single.
"Bronson's an athlete," Dusty Baker said. "He can field, hit and run. You like those athlete's out there."
Chris Heisey hit his second pinch hit home run of the season to conclude the Reds scoring.
"That was big. It got a little scary we left a lot of runners on base (11). We didn't get the big hit until then," Baker said.
Pittsburgh was hitless until Garret Jones singled to open the fifth but Arroyo pitched out of a bases loaded situation.
Arroyo needed bullpen help, leaving with two out and runners on first in the eighth. Nick Masset allowed a single and a walk but Daniel Herrera struck out Jones to save the lead.
Iwamura battled a tired Arroyo until he flied out for the second out with Ronny Cedeno on first with two outs. He signaled Baker that he was through.
"That eight pitch at bat by Iwamura took a lot out of Bronson. We are short in the bullpen especially with lefthanders with Arthur (Rhodes) out of action. I had to bring in Masset to face Neil Walker, a switch hitter, then McCutcheon but after that they had lefthanders until the bottom of the order. Masset was real close on the 2-2 pitch to McCutcheon. He needed that to get his confidence again. We have to get him back to beinng Masset."
"My tank was almost empty and that last batter took a lot out of me. I try to be honest with Dusty. I try to let him know when I've had enough," Arroyo said.
Francisco Cordero pitched a scoreless ninth.
Paul Janish was on bereavement leave due to the passing of his grandmother. He will miss three games. Drew Sutton was called up from Louisville to fill the bench......Ironman Joey Votto was out with a stiff neck. Miguel Cairo filled in at firstbase. Cairo hit a single in the second inning for the 900th hit of his career. He hit a solo home run in the fifth.....The Reds still need a starter for the game Friday but Baker wouldn't say who it was. "You'll see him in here (the clubhouse) tomorrow," Baker said. That means it won't be Micah Owings. It won't be Aroldis Chapman either. He is coming off a game in which he left with a blister. It could be any one of Matt Maloney, Sam LeCure or Travis Wood. Maloney last pitched on the 21st, LeCure on the 22nd and Wood on the 23rd. Wood's turn would be in rotation but LeCure was the International League pitcher of the week, in which he won a pair of games. His last start was a complete game shutout.