A late offensive outburst ended the Cincinnati Reds’ struggles at the plate and their losing streak.
The Reds hope to make things easier on themselves as they try to reclaim a share of the NL Central lead Tuesday night against the sputtering Oakland Athletics in the middle game of this series.
Cincinnati (38-33) got homers from Ramon Hernandez(notes), Joey Votto(notes) and Scott Rolen(notes) to power a four-run 10th inning in a 6-4 victory over Oakland (34-38) on Monday. The win was only the Reds’ second in eight games, and it came after they were swept in three games by last-place Seattle over the weekend.
They were outscored 7-1 by the Mariners while hitting .152.
“You know you’re going to go through ups and downs,” Hernandez said. “There are a lot of games and you can’t just be on in all of them. It’s impossible. The big thing is we’re just trying to stay out of those long cool-off times.”
Another victory could put the Reds back atop the Central, as they trail first-place St. Louis by one game.
The right-hander did more than pitch well during Thursday’s 7-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. He overcame a career-high six walks by allowing one run and five hits in seven innings. He also hit a three-run homer and completed three double plays.
“Hitting’s more fun,” said Arroyo, who connected for his fifth career homer. “I had the worst stuff I’ve had in a while. The only thing I had was a sinker. I tried to stay down in the zone and get ground balls. I was fortunate. Those (double) plays changed the game.”
Arroyo isn’t likely to bat against the A’s, against whom he’s 2-1 with a 4.40 ERA in five outings.
Votto, though, may continue his hot stretch at the plate. The first baseman also had a double and three RBIs Monday, giving him a .382 average with four homers while driving in eight runs over nine games.
The A’s, who are 8-2 all-time against Cincinnati, have dropped eight of 10, while scoring more than four runs only once in that stretch.
“This is a critical time of the season,” manager Bob Geren said. “We were right there in first place a couple of weeks ago and we’re going through a rough time.”
Dallas Braden(notes) (4-6, 3.78) could use some help if he’s going to win for the first time since his May 9 perfect game. He’s 0-4 with a 4.29 ERA in seven starts since, but he has received six total runs of support in that span.
Braden is also trying to overcome nagging stiffness in his elbow, which forced him to exit Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs after 83 pitches. However, he was excellent through six innings, yielding one run before leaving with a one-run lead only to see the bullpen waste his effort.
Braden may be accustomed to the lack of run support. He’s received three total runs while going 0-2 with a 2.59 ERA in four interleague starts - all A’s losses.