Cincinnati (27-23) at St. Louis (29-22)

Partly Cloudy Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 8:15 pm EDT Tue Jun 2, 2009
  • TV: FSOH, FSMW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Bronson Arroyo(notes) is tied for the NL lead in victories and now he’s finally starting to look like one of the league’s top pitchers.

Arroyo tries to build off one of his best starts of the season and help Cincinnati win back-to-back games in St. Louis for the first time in three years when the Reds continue their four-game series against the Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Cincinnati (27-23) rebounded after getting swept in a three-game series at Milwaukee with Monday’s 5-3 victory over St. Louis (29-22) thanks to a strong showing by the bullpen. Five relievers allowed one earned run in eight innings after Edinson Volquez(notes) left his first start since coming off the disabled list.

Volquez, who led the Reds with 17 wins last year, left complaining of numbness in the pinky and ring finger of his pitching hand.

While Volquez was out with back spasms, Arroyo (7-3, 5.12 ERA) was anchoring Cincinnati’s rotation.

Earlier in the year, the inconsistent Arroyo was accumulating wins thanks to a 6.09 run support average, but now he’s starting to show some dominance. He’s posted a 1.06 ERA in winning his last two starts after going 2-3 with an 8.16 ERA in his previous five.

On Wednesday, Arroyo allowed one run, four singles, a double and one walk in a 6-1 win at Houston for his first complete game of the season.

“Sometimes you get on these rolls,” he told the Reds’ official Web site. “Take what you can get when you can get it.”

The right-hander will make his first start of the season versus the Cardinals after going 2-1 with a 4.45 ERA in five starts against them a year ago. Arroyo, who is 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA in five road starts this season, is 2-2 with a 5.00 ERA in seven career starts at Busch Stadium.

With Monday’s victory, Cincinnati won for just the third time in 15 road games against the Cardinals. The Reds haven’t won consecutive games in St. Louis since sweeping a three-game series June 5-7, 2006, the last time they won a series there.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, have lost five of eight games after winning five straight.

St. Louis experienced a scary moment in Monday’s first inning when Albert Pujols(notes) caught his foot in the dirt and appeared to roll his ankle while sliding into second on a RBI double. Although he remained on the ground for a while and seemed in pain, he stayed in.

“You guys didn’t see me come out of the game,” said Pujols, who is 8 for 14 with two home runs, three RBIs and a .667 on-base percentage in his last four games. “All I know is I’m going to be in the lineup (Tuesday) and that’s it.”

The reigning NL MVP went 6 for 12 with a homer and two doubles off Arroyo last season.

St. Louis’ Brad Thompson(notes) (0-1, 4.30) is set to make his first start of the season, taking the place in the rotation for the injured Joel Pineiro(notes), who has back spasms.

Thompson, who hasn’t pitched since May 17, went 3-2 with a 4.91 ERA in five spot starts last season. The right-hander won both starts against the Reds in 2008, posting a 4.50 ERA.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Arroyo Atl vs. B. Thompson Min
15-13 Record 2-6
3.84 ERA 4.84
127 K 34
65 BB 23
1.27 WHIP 1.35

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Jun 2