PHOENIX — Bronson Arroyo knows the Cincinnati Reds.
The Cincinnati Reds know Bronson Arroyo.
Advantage Reds, at least on this night.
Cincinnati peppered the one-time teammate for five runs on nine hits in a 6-4 victory in front of an announced crowd of 19,826 at Chase Field on Friday.
The win evened the four-game series at a game apiece.
The Reds jumped on Arroyo, who once wore their uniform for eight seasons prior to joining the Diamondbacks, in the second inning with three straight singles ahead of Devin Mesoraco’s grand slam, the second of his career. When the dust had settled, Arroyo had allowed four runs and eight hits in the first three innings.
“They had a lot more insight to me and I guess part of that plan would’ve been to try to get to me early knowing I’m a strike thrower,” he said. “Obviously the grand slam was the biggest blow of the game.”
The Diamondbacks saw several scoring opportunities wasted in this one, stranding a lead-off double in the fifth, runners on the corners with one out in the sixth and a one-out double in the seventh.
“It’s always frustrating,” said manager Kirk Gibson, his team going 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and leaving 11 men on base. “Those guys are trying. They made good pitches on us as well.”
The teacher, Arroyo (4-4), was beaten by the student, former Arizona State Sun Devil Mike Leake (3-4), who improved to 3-0 lifetime against the Diamondbacks giving up four runs, three earned, on six hits in six innings.
“Regardless of the results that was probably one of the most enjoyable games I’ve pitched,” Arroyo said, “just out of the fact that, when you know somebody that intimately it still, regardless, it’s still nice to know that the guys that are beating you that they’re good guys.
“It was just a fun competition.”
Leading off would appear to agree with A.J. Pollock. For the second straight game, he opened with a hit, stole a base and scored the Diamondbacks first run. Pollock, batting first for the sixth straight game, went 3-for-4 and is now 11-for-20 on the homestand, raising his average 30 points to .316, tops on the team.
The Diamondbacks plated a pair of two-out runs in the third. Pollock hit a double down the left field line. Gerardo Parra followed with an RBI single, taking second on the throw home. He then scored on a Todd Frazier throwing error, trying to force out Paul Goldschmidt at first for the third and final out of the inning.
Parra, by the way, has reached base safely in 24 of his last 26 games.
The Diamondbacks continued to come up clutch defensively. They turned two more double plays. That’s 17 grounded-into-double-plays induced in their last 10 games, giving them 50 for the season, the third-most in the National League.
Rough night at the plate for Miguel Montero. He hit the ball square in each of his first three at-bats, but had nothing to show for it, except two line outs and a hard comebacker to the pitcher. Montero also committed a throwing error, his seventh mistake of the season, two more than all of last season.
Arroyo had retired eight straight batters before issuing a one-out walk to Frazier in the sixth. Five pitches later, Roger Bernadina doubled to center to continue his mastery of Arroyo. With two hits in three at-bats, Bernadina is now 9-for-13 lifetime against Arroyo.
Gibson dropped to 2-6 challenging umpire calls this season. In the sixth, Ender Inciarte appeared to beat Mike Leake to the first base bag, but after a review of 1:36 the play stood as called. Inciarte was out, ending the inning and leaving the tying run stranded 90-feet away.
STAT OF THE GAME:
2: The number of home runs hit by Devin Mesoraco, giving him two, two-homer games in his career; and the number of Diamondbacks hits with runners in scoring position
HE SAID IT, part I:
“We knew it was close,” Gibson said of his decision to challenge the call in the sixth inning. “I think if you look at the replays, if you look at one replay it looks like he’s safe and another one maybe he’s not. You never know. It seems it has to be pretty conclusive, that’s what they’ve told us; and it wasn’t conclusive enough in New York so we didn’t get it. It was a helluva play.”
– Arroyo walked two batters or less for the seventh straight start and for the 98th time since 2011, the most among all starters
– Montero recorded only his third caught stealing of the season (in 28 attempts), throwing out Bernadina who was trying to swipe third base in the sixth inning.
Brandon McCarthy against Johnny Cueto is the mound match-up in game three of the four-game series on Saturday, May 31. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Though saddled with a 1-6 record, McCarthy has pitched well recently. He’s allowed one run in two of his last three games and recorded a quality start in four of his last six games. McCarthy has faced the Reds twice in his career, including one start.
Meanwhile, Cueto (4-4, 1.83) leads the National League in complete games (3), innings pitched (83.2), strikeouts (85) and opponents’ batting average (.148). He’s made seven career starts against the Diamondbacks, going 5-1 with a 2.98 ERA.