Adam Duvall gave Bronson Arroyo plenty of breathing room and Arroyo took a deep breath and pitched deeper in a game and more effectively than he did in his first two starts in the Reds 9-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles..
The first grand slam of Duvall's career and a first inning sacrifice fly tied Duvall's personal best for RBI in a game. He also drove in five runs against the Cardinals on September 26 at St. Louis.
The victim of the big inning this time was Baltimore starter, Kevin Gausman, the Orioles top draft choice in 2012.
“I don’t think it was easy hitting. He threw the ball pretty good, but there were a lot of guys getting the barrel to the ball. We were just stringing hits together,” Duvall said.
Billy Hamilton opened the game with a single. Jose Peraza drew his first walk in 52 plate appearances. Joey Votto hit hard sinking line drive that dived in front of rightfielder Mark Trumbo. Hamilton had to hold up and stopped at third to load the bases with no outs. Adam Duvall hit a sacrifice fly to left. Zack Cozart singled to bring Peraza home.
Arroyo, at 40, is coming off two subpar starts after missing 2 1/2 years with shoulder and elbow surgery.
‘You have no idea how thrilled I am for Bronson. One of my favorite relationships I had with a player. We always stayed in touch," Bryan Price said. "In the off season when he was here and in season and off season after he left. I really value him as a person. It is a relationship the transcends the coach/player relationship.”
The Orioles got one run back in the second inning. With two outs Wellington Castillo hit a double. He scored when Jonathan Schoop’s bloop hit fell between Cozart and Duvall.
The Reds exploded in the third inning.
Hamilton singled again and moved up when Peraza was hit by a pitch. Votto walked. Duvall emptied the bases with his first career grand slam, his fourth home run of the season.
Cozart walked and Scooter Gennett, who was a late replacement for Eugenio Suarez, singled. Tucker Barnhart hit a double. Cozart scored easily but Gennett was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Votto followed a two-out double by Peraza with his fourth home run in the third off Vidal Nuno..
Adam Jones hit a two-run home run off Arroyo in the fifth that still left the Reds with a six-run cushion.
Arroyo finished five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out four.
The two bad starts put doubts in Arroyo's mind about the comeback.
“This games tough man," Arroyo said.. "It gets you down sometimes. I felt a little stronger today. I was a little crisper than the last two starts for sure. I feel like I should be able to get to the seventh or eighth. I was winded at around 80 pitches. I was winded after 80 pitches. I feel like I used to feel at 100-105.”
“There were a lot of questions if he could make it back. He did and got a win and he threw the ball much better than he did the first two starts,.” Price said.
Blake Wood, Cody Reed, Tony Cingrani and Drew Storen each pitched a scoreless inning to close it out.
The Reds are missing four starting pitchers at this moment, although they expect Rookie Davis to come back soon. Brandon Finnegan can't throw for three weeks. Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani are out until at least June 1.
Arroyo is unsure whether he can come back to be effective enough to help the team long term.
“It’s been a grind. It still is," Arroyo said. "The game has always felt like a grind at some point but you always knew that two out of three times you would get a quality start. I want to give the team the best chance to win ballgames. That’s the way it has to be. This can’t be ego driven. I think Bryan and myself are taking one day at a time.I was encouraged tonight. I was able to get outs when I really needed but I’d still like to get deeper in the ballgame.”