Postgame extra: Arroyo rolling

We have a new associate reporter on board starting this week, named Matt Brown. Matt handled the game story tonight on MLB.com/Reds.com for the Reds 4-0 win over Pittsburgh. Please give it a look.

The good –

*Bronson Arroyo. 7 2/3 scoreless innings with five hits and two walks (one intentional) allowed and five strikeouts. After a leadoff walk to Aki Iwamura in the first, Arroyo retired 11 in a row and faced the minimum through the first four hitless innings. He did a real nice job turned a 1-6-3 double play in the first to erase that walk.

“It was a good game,” Arroyo said. “The first inning I was missing a lot, all my pitches. I felt really strong but my command was just all over the place. It happens sometimes you come out of the pen feeling funky but to get that double play the stab up the middle probably turned the entire game around for me. If I have 2 guys on and I’m having to face the meat of the order with nobody out, it would have been a different ball game. But I got out of that one and my command came back and I felt good throwing the fastball down and away to some of these guys and kind of got on a roll. When you have a lead its a lot easier to pitch.”

*Arroyo has won four-straight starts and five of his last six. In those six starts, he is 4-0 with a 2.66 ERA. Also big is that his last two wins have followed difficult one-run losses, including that heartbreaker in Atlanta on Thursday. He’s been a good guy to have when you need to keep a loss from festering.

*Daniel Ray Herrera faced one batter but it was a huge situation. Given bases loaded, two outs in the eighth and a 3-0 lead, lefty-hitter Garrett Jones represented the go-ahead run. Arthur Rhodes was not available. Herrera stepped up and fanned Jones with a 66 mph screwball.

“I gave him some good pitches away and a breaking ball he didn’t fish for,” Herrera said. “Luckily, he swung over that screwball.”

*Filling in at 1B for Joey Votto (stiff neck), Miguel Cairo was 2-for-4 and was hit by a pitch. Cairo hit a home run in the fifth inning. He’s only batting .216 but is 4-for-8 in last two starts.

*On Lastings Milledge high line drive in the seventh, Brandon Phillips made a spectacular leap and catch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Phillips get that vertical.

“That was a two-handed slam right there,” Baker said.

*Chris Heisey’s homer in the bottom of the eighth was good insurance. It was Heisey’s second pinch-hit homer of the season and third overall.

The not so good —

*More trouble for Nick Masset. After Arroyo came out with a runner on first and two outs in the seventh, Masset faced two batters. He allowed Neil Walker’s single, a wild pitch and Andrew McCutchen’s walk that loaded the bases. Herrera cleaned up the situation.

*In his last six appearances, totaling two innings, Masset has allowed four hits, four runs and three walks while going 0-2. There were some boos when he came out of the bullpen to replace Arroyo. He’s much better than he’s pitched during this up-and-down year. Baker is counting on that fact and there really is no better right-handed option in-house that can do Masset’s role. He has to get it together.

*The Reds left 11 men on base for the night, including four in the first two innings. 

More quotes

“You’re sailing along smoothly, and all of a sudden, one hit and you say ‘no problem.’ Then one walk and you’re in trouble. Daniel came on in that situation. There’s only one lefty out there. I know Walker doesn’t hit lefties as good as righties but if he doesn’t get Walker, now you have to face McCutchen whose hitting .430 against left-handed pitching. After that, they’re all left-handed until you get down to Milledge. They had us in a crossfire right there. I thought that 2-2 pitch [to McCutchen] was pretty close. That would have really boosted Masset’s confidence. Right now he’s struggling some. We have to help him figure out how to get back to Masset.” — Dusty Baker on the eighth inning situation with Masset and Herrera.

“No, but it’s part of the job. Bronson threw a hell of a game. Masset, I wanted to pick him up too. It’s part of the game to leave them there. Don’t let those runs come in for my guys.” — Daniel Ray Herrera when asked about the uneviable situation of entering a game with the bases loaded.

“I try to be honest with him. The first batter of that inning Cedeno and then the last batter, they just wore me out. I was already running low on a fuel a little bit being so hot out there, so humid. I felt like somebody in the pen had a better opportunity to get a lefty out then I did so I gave him the signal and I feel like I should do that just for the fact that I want him to trust me when I say that Ive got enough left in the tank to go ahead and finish somebody off late in the game.” — Bronson Arroyo on signaling to Baker that he was done following Iwamura’s fly out in the eighth.

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