Arroyo beats former team again

Published 2:34 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

PITTSBURGH — Bronson Arroyo keeps reminding the Pittsburgh Pirates what they let get away without receiving anything in return. Except a lot of well-pitched games against them.

Arroyo limited Pittsburgh to one run over seven-plus innings in his latest successful start against his former team, Scott Rolen and Laynce Nix doubled in runs and the Cincinnati Reds held off the Pirates to win 2-1 on Monday night.

Arroyo (2-2), trying for his fourth career shutout, permitted only three singles until Ronny Cedeno led off the eighth by homering down the left-field line, his third of the season.

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Manager Dusty Baker lifted Arroyo after Delwyn Young followed with a pinch-hit single, but reliever Arthur Rhodes got the next three outs — striking out Andrew McCutchen to strand Young at second.

Cincinnati scored what proved to be the winning run in the top of the inning, after Pirates third baseman Andy LaRoche committed his fourth error in four games by failing to make a backhanded stop of Joey Votto’s grounder. Rolen doubled into the right-center gap off Evan Meek to make it 2-0, helping the Reds win their 10th in 14 games.

“If your pitcher’s going out there and is pitching (a lot of) innings and keeps the ball down, you get results,” Brandon Phillips said.

Arroyo couldn’t have been much sharper, retiring the side in order four times while failing to allow a runner past second base until Cedeno homered. The right-hander struck out two and walked one, throwing 72 of 103 pitches for strikes. He lasted at least six innings for the sixth time in seven starts.

“He can throw from three different angles, he can throw from three-quarters, he can throw from the top — he can confuse anybody,” Cedeno said.

Arroyo won his fourth in his last five decisions against the Pirates, who released him after the 2002 season without bothering to try to trade him. He has won 79 games in the majors since then, including a pair of 15-win seasons and two 14-win seasons.

The one-time Pirates prospect has permitted only three runs in 28 innings during those four victories, which date to midway through the 2008 season.

“He was awesome,” Baker said.

He also didn’t have nearly as much at his disposal as usual.

“I didn’t have the ball moving a whole lot other than my sinker,” Arroyo said. “It was going down just enough to get some ground balls. That really helped me out because these guys have seen a lot of soft stuff from me in the past. I really didn’t have my soft stuff moving too much, but it worked out.”

Francisco Cordero earned his 11th save in 13 opportunities despite walking two in the ninth. He stranded the potential tying run at third by getting Cedeno to ground into a force play.

Cordero blew a save opportunity, and took the loss, by yielding two runs in the ninth inning of the Reds’ 5-4 loss in Pittsburgh on April 17. The Pirates swept that three-game series.

Pirates right-hander Ross Ohlendorf (0-1) came off the disabled list to pitch four innings in his second start of the season, giving up three hits and walking four while throwing 84 pitches. Ohlendorf (back spasms) hadn’t started since April 7 against the Dodgers, the Pirates’ second game.

The Reds’ only run off Ohlendorf came in the fourth. Jay Bruce singled and scored on Nix’s double, barely beating the relay throw to the plate. In the ninth, Johnny Gomes was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Orlando Cabrera’s two-out double.

NOTES: Drew Stubbs is 4-for-16 since being dropped from No. 1 to No. 7 in the order. … Arroyo fell an inning short of making his ninth start of at least eight innings with no more than one run allowed since the start of last season. … Left fielder Nix made an excellent running catch of Aki Iwamura’s fly ball to left-center in the sixth. … The Pirates are 10-3 in games decided by no more than two runs.