Nationals slips by Reds, Arroyo 3-1

Published 2:35 am Friday, August 19, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bronson Arroyo may have pitched well enough for a victory. He’ll have to wait a little longer to get back into the win column, though.

Jesus Flores homered and Jonny Gomes hit a two-run single off Arroyo, which was more than enough offense for the Washington Nationals in a 3-1 win against the Reds on Thursday night.

Arroyo (7-10), who hasn’t won in his last nine starts, pitched six innings, giving up three runs and seven hits.

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“He just made two mistakes,” Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. “We were certainly doing everything we could to push across some runs and get him a victory. It’s been a long time. If he keeps throwing like that, we’re going to get him some.”

Arroyo has worked at least six innings in his last eight starts. In his last four losses, the Reds have scored just six runs.

“I felt strong, I felt good,” Arroyo said. “I had good stuff. but on the other side, they were a little bit better.”

Ryan Hanigan had a season-high four hits and Brandon Phillips had three for the Reds, but Cincinnati’s only other hit was Joey Votto’s single.

“That’s kind of been the story of the year — we get one guy hot, another guy hot the next day,” Baker said. “We had two guys hot this day, and we can’t get three or four guys hot at the same time.”

Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann (8-10) pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning. He allowed six hits, walking one and striking out two, and combined with four relievers to limit the Reds to an unearned run.

In the seventh, pinch-hitter Fred Lewis led off with a grounder to short that was booted by Ian Desmond. He moved to second on a wild pitch by Henry Rodriguez and to third on Flores’ passed ball. He scored on Phillips’ infield out.

The Reds had plenty of other chances to score. Cincinnati stranded runners in scoring position in five of the first six innings.

“Last year a lot of our success, a lot of guys were hot all year,” Hanigan said. “This year it’s been sporadic. It’s frustrating. I know guys are working at it, you can’t say they’re not working at it, and hopefully we’ll turn it around and finish strong.”

Arroyo held Washington scoreless until Flores homered to left field with one out in the fifth, the catcher’s first homer since May 8, 2009. Flores missed most of the 2009 and all of last season after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder.

Arroyo ran into more trouble in the sixth after retiring the first two batters. The Nationals loaded the bases on a walk and two singles before Gomes, who was traded to Washington by the Reds on July 26, drove in two runs on a single to left.

“Sometimes when those things happen you get the next guy to pop up and get out of the inning and all is forgotten, but it didn’t happen tonight,” Arroyo said. “Jonny made us pay for it.”

Gomes also made a nice running catch on a flyball by Votto to end the fifth inning, slamming into the wall in left after making the grab.

Hannigan and Phillips each singled in the ninth off of closer Drew Storen, who got his 33rd start in 37 changes. Left fielder Brian Bixler, who replaced Gomes in the ninth inning, robbed pinch-hitter Ramon Hernandez of an RBI with a diving catch on the warning track to preserve the Nationals’ lead.

Hanigan said the lack of offense was a recurring problem for the Reds in Arroyo’s starts.

“He’s definitely had plenty of starts where he for sure could have pulled a win out and we either blew a lead or didn’t score enough runs,” Hanigan said. “You don’t want to dwell on it, because then it becomes an issue, but hopefully we can get one for him next time. He pitched well enough tonight to get a win, for sure.”

NOTES: The game’s start was delayed by 32 minutes. … Reds OF Jay Bruce was named the NL’s Player of the Week for the second time this season. He went 0 for 4. … Cincinnati SS Edgar Renteria missed his second straight game with a strained left groin. … The Reds travel to Pittsburgh to begin a three-game series. RHP Homer Bailey (7-5) is scheduled to face RHP Kevin Correia (12-11).