NEW YORK (AP)—Throughout his horrendous start to the season, Bronson Arroyo insisted he was fine.
He proved it on Saturday.
Arroyo pitched eight dominant innings to win a matchup of struggling pitchers and Jeff Keppinger had a career-high five hits, lifting the Cincinnati Reds over the New York Mets 7-1 for a split of their day-night doubleheader.
“The tides got to turn at some point,” Arroyo said after retiring 16 of his last 17 batters. “You throw it up there enough times and they’ve got to hit it on the ground eventually—instead of over infielders heads.”
In the opener, Carlos Beltran hit a bases-loaded triple and drove in five runs to back Johan Santana’s first home win for the Mets in a 12-6 victory. Carlos Delgado and Brian Schneider hit New York’s first back-to-back homers of the season during a makeup of Friday night’s rainout.
Ken Griffey Jr. had two hits and an RBI in the nightcap, but remained stalled in his bid to become the sixth player with 600 home runs—he is homerless in 59 at-bats. He missed No. 598 by inches in the opener when he hit a drive off the top of the wall for a two-run double that earned him a start in the second game.
The Reds outhit the Mets in the loss, 15-12, and the win, 14-4—but they also got pitching and defense in the nightcap. They broke open the game in the ninth thanks to two errors by the Mets and Scott Hatteberg’s third RBI of the game.
That prompted angry Mets closer Billy Wagner, who entered in the ninth to get some work in, to knock over a water cooler in the dugout after he was pulled.
“Our bullpen—we just stunk,” said Wagner, who was charged with three unearned runs.
Arroyo struck out the side in the first and immediately put to rest any thoughts of a repeat of his awful outing a week ago, when he gave up seven runs in the shortest start of his career—1 1-3 innings.
“Griffey making that play was big to get out with no runs—I’ve been having trouble in the second inning all year,” Arroyo said.
Griffey had an RBI single an out after Ryan Freel doubled to lead off the game. The Mets tied it in the third when David Wright hit a run-scoring single an out after Jose Reyes doubled. Griffey then had an assist when Wright was thrown out at the plate on Beltran’s double to help end the rally.
The Reds took the lead in the sixth on Hatteberg’s double, scoring Keppinger. Hatteberg drove in Keppinger again in the eighth with a single off Duaner Sanchez.
Baffled by his 8.63 ERA entering Saturday despite being healthy, Arroyo struck out the side again in the seventh, then fanned Reyes to start the eighth. The right-hander finished with nine strikeouts and two walks.
“He had them off balance,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He was dealing tonight. To go eight innings like he did, makes everybody feel better.”
Francisco Cordero worked a perfect ninth to complete the four-hitter.
In the opener, Wright broke out of a 1-for-13 slump with two hits and three runs, helping the Mets score 12 times for the second consecutive game. Moises Alou had two RBIs and New York began a seven-game homestand against last-place teams.
Manager Willie Randolph started Santana in the opener instead of Pelfrey, Friday’s scheduled starter, because “I like to get my best going first,” he said. Santana matched a career high by giving up 10 hits, though he never was in serious trouble until the sixth, when he needed 38 pitches to get out of the inning.
“Allergies have been bothering me, but it’s no excuse,” Santana said. “My eyes, my nose, I battled through and we were able to win. … When I see my team hitting balls and scoring runs you feel good.”
But Pelfrey vastly improved on his last two starts in which he gave up five runs and 13 total baserunners in each. He worked six effective innings Saturday, giving up eight hits and two runs. He struck out three and walked one.
Santana (4-2) allowed Edwin Encarnacion’s eighth homer in the fourth inning and scattered five other hits through five. But he gave up four hits in the sixth, including a leadoff triple to Brandon Phillips and RBI singles to Encarnacion and pinch-hitter Hatteberg. Santana has allowed 10 hits in a game five times.
Beltran’s triple off reliever Mike Lincoln in the sixth made it 10-3. The slugger had an RBI single in the third and a sacrifice fly in the fifth for his first RBIs since April 26.
Delgado homered off Lincoln with one out in the seventh, his fifth, and Schneider followed with his first of the season.
After beginning the day with a .216 average, Delgado had three hits from the No. 7 spot in the order, missing the cycle by a triple. It was the first time he batted that low since Sept. 30, 1995, with Toronto against the New York Yankees, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Matt Belisle (1-3) gave up six runs—five earned—and seven hits in five innings. He threw a wild pitch that let a run score and committed a two-base throwing error that led to two runs in the fifth.
Delgado batted fifth against Arroyo and extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the first inning.
The Mets and Reds last played a doubleheader on May 19, 1998, and the Mets won both games at Shea Stadium. … Between games, Reds pitcher David Weathers’ 8-year-old son, Ryan, took batting practice in center field.