Arroyo, winless in four starts, again seeks his first victory as the Reds continue their three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Wednesday.
Arroyo (0-2, 3.25 ERA) has been effective, pitching into the seventh inning of each of his starts and allowing more than two earned runs only once. The right-hander, though, has received only nine runs of support in 27 2-3 innings.
In his last start, Arroyo left with a 6-2 lead after seven innings. In the next two innings, the Reds’ defense committed two costly errors and the bullpen gave up six runs as Cincinnati lost 8-6 to Houston on Thursday.
“That’s the way it’s going right now,” Arroyo said.
Arroyo, who won a career-high 14 games with Boston in 2005 and matched that in his first season with Cincinnati, will be facing a St. Louis team he handled well in 2006. In four starts against the Cardinals, Arroyo went 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA.
A resurgent offense could help Arroyo’s cause. The Reds (10-10) set a season high with 17 hits in their 10-3 win over St. Louis in Tuesday’s opener.
Ken Griffey Jr., limited to one pinch-hit appearance in the previous four games because of a case of diverticulitis, returned to the lineup and hit his first home run of the season, passing Reggie Jackson for 10th place on the all-time list with career homer No. 564.
“Last year, tying him, just my name and his name mentioned in the same breath was just overwhelming,” Griffey said. “To pass him, sometimes it’s mindboggling because I didn’t think when I started playing this game 19 years ago that I’d be anywhere close to where I am now.”
Griffey batted .412 with four homers and six RBIs in nine games against the Cardinals last season. His 20 career home runs against St. Louis are his most against any team in the NL.
Shortstop Alex Gonzalez, known more for his glove than his bat, matched a career high with four hits and established a new career mark with four runs scored. His five RBIs more than doubled his season total, giving him nine.
“Everybody talks about his defense all the time,” manager Jerry Narron told the Reds’ official Web site. “I really believe he’s capable of having a good year offensively. He’s had a 20-homer season before. It was nice to see him break out tonight.”
For the Cardinals (8-11), Tuesday’s loss was their third straight at Busch, where they have been outscored 44-20 in a 1-7 start.
“What did we do worse today, hit or pitch?” said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, whose team went 49-31 at home in 2006. “I just think our team had a tough day. The margin is immaterial to me.”
Braden Looper (3-1, 2.06) will take the mound as St. Louis looks to snap its home slide. Looper has been surprisingly effective in his first season as a starter, giving up just six runs in 26 innings. He went 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in seven relief appearances against the Reds in 2006.
Looper also has the lone Cardinals home win this season, limiting the Milwaukee Brewers to two runs in six innings in a 10-2 rout on April 15.
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