Bronson Arroyo admitted to his coaches he didn’t have his best stuff after the sixth inning Sunday and told them to be prepared if the Brewers figured that out. He had thrown 65 pitches, he said, but it felt like 90.
It was just one of those days. Fortunately for Arroyo and the Reds, the Milwaukee batters were having one of those days, too.
The Reds beat the Brewers 5-1 to sweep the three-game series at Great American Ball Park, and the best start of the series — the best of the month so far — belongs to Arroyo. His results were better than this stuff.
“I was grinding from inning one,” Arroyo said. “I was laboring every inning. It probably didn’t look like that. I knew I was getting away with some pitches. I knew that game could have gotten out of hand quicker than you thought. Luckily for me, they beat the ball into the ground a little bit.”
Arroyo pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings, gave up five hits and walked one. He struck out five, improved to 3-4 and lowered his ERA from 4.30 to 3.76. He even got his first hit of the season in the second inning after starting the season 0-for-11.
“Now (Mat) Latos can get off my back,” Arroyo said. “It was just a good day overall. We had some good defense and clutch hitting. That’s how you want to win a series for sure.”
Lacking quality: Reds manager Dusty Baker wasn’t aware the Reds hadn’t produced a quality start in the last nine games when he was asked about it Sunday morning. His pitchers, masters of the quality start in April with 20 in 28 games, had none in the first nine games in May.
It was the longest streak by the team since 2005. Arroyo ended that streak Sunday.
The Reds still won six of those nine games, so Baker wasn’t worried. A pitcher must throw at least six innings and give up no more than three earned runs to get a quality start.
“We’ve been rolling for a long time and kind of hit the skid marks a little bit,” Arroyo said. “The good thing is we’ve still been winning. Those are the kind of things you need to stay on top of the division.”
Injury updates: Left fielder Chris Heisey and reliever Manny Parra will both begin rehab stints with Double-A Pensacola tonight. Heisey has been on the DL since April 29 with a strained right hamstring. Parra has been on the DL since April 26 with a strained left pectoral muscle.
Not a chance: Fans in the Diamond Club seats behind home plate can get within a few feet of the on-deck circle. During Saturday’s game, a fan pulled out his camera phone and asked the Brewers’ Ryan Braun to turn around and pose for a photo. Braun didn’t acknowledge the request.
The joker: Latos, who earlier this season lit a cigar Hall of Fame beat writer Hal McCoy was chewing on while he wasn’t looking, spent the early innings Saturday flipping sunflower seeds from the dugout steps at some photographers. He was kind enough to at least not chew on them first.
Looking ahead: The Reds begin a nine-game road trip Tuesday against the bottom three teams in the National League East. They play three games against the Marlins, Phillies and then the Mets. The Reds haven’t played the Mets yet, but they’re 6-1 against the Phillies and Marlins.