Diamondbacks 7, Reds 0
Cruz, relying more and more on a pitch he just started using in February, scattered four hits over six shutout innings Saturday night to lead the Diamondbacks to a 7-0 win over the slumping Reds. Cruz (2-3) followed Webb’s complete-game 3-0 win in Friday’s series opener by striking out five and walking two to earn his first win in his last four starts.
“Obviously, we’re pitching very well,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “All of his pitches he located for strikes. When he’s locating his fastball, he becomes unpredictable.”
And he’s beginning to trust his newest pitch.
“I threw a lot of cutters the last three innings,” Cruz said. “I can control it. I don’t throw strikes with it every time, but I have confidence in it.”
Orlando Hudson, in his first season with Arizona after four with Toronto, had three hits as the Diamondbacks earned their seventh win in their last eight games. His three-run home run in the eighth inning sealed the victory, which left the Diamondbacks (29-19) 10 games over .500 for the first time since they were 54-44 on July 20, 2003.
“That’s not my type of game,” Hudson said. “As a team, we swung the bats well against a tough pitcher. My job is to get on base and let the other guys drive me in.”
Cruz had been 0-3 since beating Chicago 6-0 on May 4, including a 2-1 loss to Atlanta in his previous start on May 21 in which he allowed just two hits and two runs in six innings.
“I feel great,” said Cruz, who opened the season with seven relief appearances before becoming a starter. “With this team, it’s important every game. They’re giving me an opportunity to (start).”
Cincinnati right fielder Austin Kearns, who had two home runs in seven career at-bats against Cruz going into the game, noticed the newest pitch in the right-hander’s repertoire.
“It’s been a few years since I faced him,” Kearns said. “It seemed like he was locating pretty well. That cutter comes in at 90 (mph). I don’t think he had that before.”
Luis Vizcaino, Brandon Lyon and Jorge Julio combined for three innings of shutout relief to extend the Reds’ streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 21 over the last three games. Cincinnati is a combined 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position in the first two games of the series.
It’s the first time Cincinnati has been shut out in consecutive games since Sept. 23-24, 2003, and the longest scoreless streak for the Reds since they went 22 innings without a run from Sept. 21-25 of that year.
“We’re not swinging the bats real well right now,” Reds manager Jerry Narron. “We’re not stringing together any hits. It’s disappointing. We had runners in scoring position, we just couldn’t get any key hits.”
Reds starter Aaron Harang (5-4) fell to 0-3 over his last four starts since winning 5-1 at Colorado on May 4. The right-hander went seven innings, giving up four runs—two earned—on eight hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. He also got the decision when the Reds lost 1-0 at Detroit on May 21.
“It happens,” Harang said. “What can you do? Hopefully, we’ll get out of this rut we’re in right now and get back on track. Shutouts can happen to anybody.”
Eric Byrnes led off the sixth with a walk and, one out later, stole second and moved to third on catcher Jason LaRue’s throwing error. Byrnes couldn’t score on Luis Gonzalez’s soft chopper in front of the plate, but Shawn Green came up with a run-scoring infield single to second.
Counsell drove in Hudson with a blooper to left in the seventh.
Hudson looked to have his sixth stolen base of the season for Arizona until he was ruled out when plate umpire Charlie Reliford called interference on Snyder, who stepped in front of LaRue while striking out in the third inning. … Byrnes and Counsell each had a stolen base to tie Hudson for Arizona’s team lead with five each. … The Reds went into the game tied with Milwaukee for the most errors in the major leagues with 43. They committed two errors. … The Reds have lost two of their last three series at home after winning four of their first five and splitting the other. … Gonzalez’s eighth-inning double was the 511th of his career, tying him with former teammate and current Arizona television broadcaster Mark Grace for 36th place.