The Reds pitcher least likely to throw a no-hitter came within five outs of blanking the Milwaukee Brewers at GAB Tuesday evening. That’s not a knock on Bronson Arroyo. He just doesn’t have the overpowering stuff that you might see from Johnny Cueto or Matt Latos.
Arroyo pitches to contact with a menu of different pitches and arm angles. On Tuesday, Arroyo served up the entire menu, keeping the Brewers lineup completely off-balance. As evidence, Arroyo surgically induced seven infield pop-ups.
After plunking Ryan Braun in the first inning, Arroyo retired the next twenty batters, taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning.
Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada was also on his game, holding the Reds scoreless through five innings. In the sixth, however, the Reds offense came alive when Joey Votto doubled to left and Brandon Phillips singled to left. Then, Jay Bruce drove an Estrada mistake over the centerfield fence to put the Reds on top 3-0. Estrada notched a quality start, striking out twelve Reds hitters over his six innings of work.
Sensing the prospect of a no-hitter, the GAB crowd of 32,986 buzzed with excitement when Arroyo took the mound in the eighth leading 3-0. After striking out Travis Ishikawa to begin the eighth, Arroyo walked George Kottaras on a very close 3-2 pitch. Then, Taylor Green ended the no-hit bid with a double down the rightfield line. Pinch hitter, Corey Hart continued the assault with a two-run double. After Rickie Weeks fouled out, Norichika Aoki drove home the tying run with a single to left.
In a matter of minutes, Arroyo saw both the no-hitter and the win vanish into the night. Sean Marshall was summoned from the bullpen to replace Arroyo with two out in the eighth. After Aoki swiped second, Marshall induced an infield pop-up to Cody Ransom, preserving the tie.
In the dugout, Arroyo was visibly disappointed. “Once I got through the meat of the order with Braun and Ramirez in the seventh there, I thought we had a chance to do it,” said Arroyo. “It was just disappointing to lose the lead. To work that hard in the ballgame and have a gem like that and walk away with a no-decision like that is just terrible.”
Not to be vanquished, Drew Stubbs led off the eighth with a solo homerun against Milwaukee closer John Axford to put the Reds ahead 4-3. Then, Axford settled down, retiring Votto, Phillips, and Bruce to end the eighth.
Aroldis Chapman put the rumors of his demotion to rest when he came running in from the centerfield bullpen to start the ninth. Taking his warm-up pitches, Chapman exhaled forcefully in between deep breaths. He was visibly amped-up. His first few pitches to Ryan Braun didn’t come near the strike zone. Chapman rebounded, however, from a 3-0 deficit to fan Braun with a low fastball.
He continued to struggle with his command, walking Aramis Ramirez on four pitches. With the tying run at first base, Chapman somehow gathered himself to fan pinch hitters Carlos Gomez and Martin Maldonado to nail down his ninth save.
An elated Chapman shocked his teammates and his manager, Dusty Baker, with a pair of forward rolls in front of the GAB mound. Baker wasn’t amused. “I know he was happy, especially after the bad week he had last week, but that’s something — we don’t play like that around here,” Baker said after the game.
While Chapman earned the save, his command was poor. The performance wasn’t somersault-worthy.
Scott Rolen was 0-3 with a pair of strikeouts. Rolen is 7-27 (.259) since returning from the disabled list on June 18th. Rolen’s contribution came on defense. Rolen erased Cesar Izturis in the sixth with an impressive barehand grab and throw to Joey Votto.
I would like to thank Lisa Braun and Jamie Ramsey of the Reds for hosting the BlogRedMachine staff at GAB this afternoon. After watching the Reds take batting practice from the field and a tour of the Reds Hall of Fame, we enjoyed a memorable game from the moondeck!
Like what you’re reading? Follow me on Twitter: @Suer_Rat