Reds 6, Braves 5
“It felt nice to come out and feel good while putting up a lot of zeroes,” Arroyo said. “I hadn’t done that in a long time.”
Arroyo (4-10), an All-Star last year, matched his season low by giving up only three hits and matched his season high with nine strikeouts. He did not allow a run in a start for the first time since Sept. 25 against the Chicago Cubs.
“He commanded just about everything he threw up there,” said Braves manager Bobby Cox. “I know he’s having a rough year, but he’s lost a lot of tough ball games, too. He’s one of the class pitchers, for me. I’ve always liked him.”
Chipper Jones, who went 2-for-4 overall, was 0-for-2 with a walk against Arroyo. Jones said he felt confident at the plate—until he was dragging his bat back to the dugout.
“You know, he’s a comfortable at-bat, but he’s one of those guys that, you’re comfortable for four at-bats and you’re wondering at the end of the night how you’re 0-for-4,” Jones said.
“That’s what makes it so frustrating. You feel like you can get pitches to hit but he changes speeds so well, he changes arm angles and he keeps you off-balance.”
Arroyo began Tuesday night’s game ranking among the NL leaders in losses, hits and runs allowed. He struck out the side in the first inning and was rarely threatened.
Andruw Jones hit a two-run homer deep into the left-field seats off Stanton. The Braves extended the rally as Brian McCann singled, Jeff Francoeur walked and Kelly Johnson hit a two-run triple to the center-field wall, cutting the Reds’ lead to 6-4.
Chipper Jones drove in Edgar Renteria with a two-out single in the ninth, but Andruw Jones flied out to the edge of the warning track in left to end the game.
Weathers said he wasn’t worried.
“I can tell the sound of one going into the seats,” Weathers said.
Braves rookie Jo-Jo Reyes, making his second start, gave up eight hits and four runs in 6 1-3 innings.
Reyes trailed 2-0 when he left with one out in the sixth and two runners on base, but reliever Peter Moylan walked Keppinger to load the bases. Griffey pushed the lead to 4-0 with a two-run single to right, and Brandon Phillips followed with another two-run single off Moylan.
Keppinger, from Parkview High—also the Atlanta suburb alma mater of Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur—and the University of Georgia, made the most of rare start. Keppinger, recalled from Louisville on July 7, had only 10 at-bats and two starts—both at third base—before starting at shortstop.
David Ross hit a one-out double in the fifth and moved to third on a groundout by Arroyo. Ryan Freel walked and stole second, and Ross and Freel scored when Keppinger drilled a 3-2 pitch past third baseman Chipper Jones for a two-run double.
“It’s awesome,” said Keppinger of the chance to start in Atlanta. “I had a lot of family and a lot of friends here. It made me feel comfortable.”
Reds manager Pete Mackanin said Keppinger earned more playing time in Wednesday’s final game of the series.
“Sounds great,” Keppinger said. “Sweet. Beautiful.”
Said Mackanin: “Keppinger is a professional hitter. He will give you solid at-bats.”
The Braves had a scoring chance in the bottom of the fifth when Johnson doubled and moved to third on Reyes’ bloop single, but Arroyo struck out Willie Harris and ended the threat on Edgar Renteria’s fly ball to right field. ^Notes: Arroyo also had nine strikeouts on April 4 against the Cubs. … Reyes had no strikeouts and has only one in his first two starts. … Phillips was picked off second base in the fourth inning. … Keppinger made his major league debut with the New York Mets in 2004. … Griffey is one hit away from 2,500.