Pittsburgh (58-85) at Cincinnati (70-72)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Cincinnati, OH
Temp: 89° F
  • Game info: 1:15 pm EDT Sun Sep 10, 2006
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Bronson Arroyo’s last two starts came at critical times for the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds will turn to the right-hander again as they try to stop their late-season struggles when they conclude a three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

Cincinnati is just 3-11 since Aug. 24, dropping two games below .500 (70-72) and 3 1/2 games behind San Diego in the NL wild card standings.

Two of those victories, though, have come from Arroyo (12-9, 3.33 ERA). He stopped a six-game Cincinnati losing streak with a win over the Padres on Sept. 1, allowing two runs and four hits in seven innings of a 6-2 win.

He then came back on three days’ rest and tossed his first career shutout, a three-hitter in a 3-0 win over San Francisco on Tuesday.

“I’ve said all along that three days’ rest is nothing,” said Arroyo, who asked to be moved up in the rotation. “You could pitch with a four-man rotation. I just think people don’t want to do it. I feel just as good on the fourth day as the fifth, maybe better.”

It was the third complete game of the season for Arroyo and fourth of his career.

“It was one of those days where everything you throw up there just works out,” Arroyo said.

He lost 7-2 to the Pirates on May 17, allowing four runs and nine hits in six innings. It was his first career start against the team he pitched for from 2000-02.

After losing 7-4 to the Pirates (58-85) on Saturday, Cincinnati slipped to third in the NL Central, one-half game behind Houston and six games behind division-leading St. Louis.

“Time is getting precious right now,” said Aurilia, who admitted to scoreboard watching. “We need to get on a run to make up some ground.”

Jason Bay hit his 32nd homer, matching his career-high set last season and Ronny Paulino had a tiebreaking single in the eighth to lead Pittsburgh.

Bay is the first Pirate since Brian Giles in 1999-2000 to have consecutive 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons.

“I’m definitely pleased with how the career has started,” Bay said. “You want to try to get to a certain plateau every year. If you try to be consistent with that, everyone is happy.”

Shane Youman makes his major league debut for Pittsburgh on Sunday. A former 43rd-round draft pick, the 26-year-old left-hander went 7-2 with a 1.51 ERA in 23 games with Double-A Altoona and was 4-0 with Indianapolis with 4.04 ERA in seven starts and one relief appearance.

His contract was purchased by the Pirates on Wednesday.

“Whether you are anticipating it or not, it always catches you by surprise,” Youman said.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Youman Phi vs. B. Arroyo Ari
0-2 Record 14-11
2.91 ERA 3.29
5 K 184
10 BB 64
1.15 WHIP 1.19

Scoreboard

Sunday, Sep 10