It looked extremely rocky for the Mudville Nine that day. Bronson Arroyo knew the feeling but then he's been there before. The Reds scored a 6-3 win that looked doubtful in the early innings.
Aramis Ramirez singled hard to open the frame. Carlos Gomez, who was scalding the ball before an injury intervened, scalded another pitch to centerfield for a single. New Reds' killer, Kris Davis hit a line drive just short of the seats in left to score Ramirez, leaving runners on second and third with no outs. Scooter Gennett picked up Gomez with a sacrifice fly to center. Arroyo got Martin Maldonado on a pop fly to thirdbaseman Jack Hannahan who was drawn in and had to sprint to make the catch. Wily Peralta, the Brewers starting pitcher struck out.
"It started out a little rough. Bronson can do that sometimes and settle down and the next thing you know you're in the seventh," Dusty Baker said. "His pitch count was relatively low but we also know that he can unravel rather quickly."
As Arroyo was settling in, allowing just two base runners over the next five innings, the Reds were hitting the ball hard but frustrating themselves.
Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips singled with two outs in the first off Peralta but ended up with nothing to show for it as Ryan Ludwick popped out to shallow left.
"The first at-bat it was a curve ball. My eyes saw it as a hanger. My body leaked. It's rhythm and timing," Ludwick said.
Ryan Hanigan added a two-out single in the second.
Shin-Soo Choo walked to open the third but was thrown out attempting a steal. Chris Heisey followed with a single but was stranded.
Ludwick opened the fourth with a single. Hannahan hit s shot to the left centerfield gap but Gomez and shortstop Jean Segura threw Ludwick out at the plate. Zack Cozart hit a hard one-hop ground ball to a drawn-in Ramirez at thirdbase. Hanigan was hit by a pitch but Arroyo grounded out.
"After I broke my bat getting that hit, I thought they would try to pitch me in," Ludwick said.
"It was frustrating on my part. We had that runner on third and I didn't get him in," Cozart said.
Heisey hit his eighth home run of the season off Peralta in the fifth. Peralta completed the inning out but was finished for the night.
The home team teed off on John Axford. Ludwick hit his first home run of the season to start the sixth. Hannahan singled. Cozart put the Reds on top, 4-2 with his 10th home run.
"It was amazing after that at-bat I felt like Superman," said Ludwick, who will get Sunday off after playing three games in a row. "I was actually more thrilled about the ball I hit at the shortstop (line-out in the seventh) than I was the home run. I hit it harder than the home run. It was more pure. I stayed behind the ball; there was no hook or sink to it. That's my swing. The home run's not my swing. I got around the ball and had top spin."
"I haven't done to well off Axford," Cozart said. "I don't think I've had a hit off him my whole career. I was just trying to battle and put a ball in play much less hit a home run. It's cool to contribute like this."
It was an encouraging sign for Baker and his teammates.
"It was big to see Cozart come through," Baker said. "He's been getting a lot of criticism and that kind of bothers him. You know and I know that he's better than he's been playing and it will be good to get him hot down the stretch. Heisey is getting hot too. We hope to get everybody clicking."
Votto hit his 19th home run of the season off Mike Gonzalez. It was the 152nd home run of Votto's career, putting him in Big Red Machine company with Joe Morgan and Pete Rose in a tie for 15th place on the Reds' all-time list.
Arroyo went out for the eighth inning but it was evident that he was out of gas. Pinch hitter Caleb Gindl homered to right. Norichika Aoki singled. That hit signaled the end for Arroyo, who notched his 13th win of the season, besting last year's win total with six starts left.
"It was a good win for us as a whole the bullpen got some rest," Arroyo said. "That second inning they hit some balls that surprised me that they hit. Some were hit hard. Luckily, I salvaged that inning by only giving up two runs. If you give up the third one it makes a bit of a difference. We stayed steady, steady, steady and took the lead. Sometimes it can be more satisfying than taking the lead right off the bat. You kind of Dusty likes to call it 'slow walking' somebody."
J.J. Hoover replaced Arroyo but gave up an infield hit to Segura. Hoover coaxed Jonathan Lucroy to hit a weak ground ball to Phillips at second. It was hit too slowly for a conventional double play but Phillips ran at Segura causing him to retreat before throwing to Votto to retire Lucroy. Votto, Cozart and Phillips had Segura in a rundown as Aoki eyed home plate. Phillips applied the tag to get Segura. He had ideas of throwing to third to complete a triple play but wisely held the ball. Hoover finished the inning, getting Ramirez to ground out to Cozart.
"It was a heads-up play by Phillips," Baker said.
Aroldis Chapman entered the game in the top of the ninth to notch his 33rd save in 38 chances. Chapman hit a batter but struck out the side.
|Professionally edited by ML Schirmer|
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