Reds 7, Astros 5
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But with his batting average, he was more likely to get a hit on the music charts than the baseball diamond.
On Saturday that tune changed as he broke an 0-for-27 hitless streak by going 3-for-3 with a career-high four RBIs and pitched six strong innings to lead the Reds to a 7-5 win over the Houston Astros.
The performance was the most RBIs by a pitcher since Houston’s Wade Miller had four against St. Louis in September of 2003 and the most by a Reds pitcher since Jose Rijo’s four in 1993.
Arroyo, whose CD “Covering the Bases” debuted at No. 2 on one Billboard chart last summer, had just six hits and three RBIs in 84 career at-bats coming into Saturday’s game. But he had a double and two singles to carry Cincinnati’s offense, including RBIs in the third, fifth and sixth innings, all against Andy Pettitte.
“It’s a lucky day man,” Arroyo said chuckling. “You’re always surprised as a pitcher to get a hit. So to get three hits and four RBIs is probably a career day for me. Every now and again people get lucky.”
The win is Cincinnati’s third straight and the loss is Houston’s third in a row and its 20th in the last 28 games.
Arroyo (7-2) struck out six and allowed no earned runs with eight hits for the win.
Reds manager Jerry Narron seemed more impressed with Arroyo’s pitching than his hitting. He liked how he struck out two players to end the sixth inning after Houston got runners on second and third.
“Bronson really came through tonight,” Narron said. “In the sixth he showed what a big-time pitcher he is.”
Giving up three hits to Arroyo, was especially tough for two-time All-Star Pettitte to take.
“It’s embarrassing,” Pettitte said. “The guy swings the bat three times and gets four RBIs. So it’s just unacceptable. He obviously was seeing the ball really well off of me.”
Save for a solo home run by Ken Griffey Jr. in the fourth, the bottom part of the Reds lineup keyed the offense. Cincinnati’s last three batters combined for six hits and six RBIs and three runs in the first six innings.
Pettitte (4-7) didn’t allow a hit until a triple by David Ross in the third inning. Arroyo followed with an RBI-single to left field to put the Reds up 1-0.
Griffey hit the 544th home run of his career in the fourth to make it 2-0.
The Astros tied the game at 2-2 on an RBI-double by Eric Bruntlett that scored Ausmus.
Arroyo put Cincinnati back on top 3-2 when he followed a single by Ross with an RBI-double in the fifth.
“His hitting was incredible,” Ross said. “I couldn’t give him a hard time because I was too busy catching my breath rounding the bases every time he came up.”
Pettitte, who was working on just three days rest, intentionally walked Ross to get to the career sub-.100 batter Arroyo. But the plan backfired as hot-hitting Arroyo hit a two-RBI single to left field to extend Cincinnati’s lead to 7-2.
So has Arroyo found a new calling as a pinch hitter?
“No definitely not,” Arroyo said amused. “I’m probably going for another 20 strikeouts in a row after this.”
Pettitte allowed nine hits and seven runs and struck out two in six innings.
Houston added another unearned run in the seventh when Adam Everett scored after a Encarnacion overthrew first base.
Houston left 10 batters on base.
“We seem to get in a state of panic when we don’t score runs,” Astros manager Phil Garner said. “We get them on base and then we stall—seems like we’ve been doing it for the last 10 or 11 days.”
At 27-29, the Astros are two games below .500 for the first time this season. They were 10 games above .500 at 19-9 on May 4. … Bruntlett has hit safely in the last six games. … Saturday marked just the 12th time that Pettitte had started on three days or less rest in his 13-year career. … The Reds are in the middle of a 10-day, nine-game road trip, their longest of the season. They are 3-2 so far.