Reds pour it on early, take rain-shortened win
Frazier homers, drives in four to back Arroyo in six-inning victory
CINCINNATI -- After a nightmare road trip that saw the Reds get shut out twice and lose six of eight, manager Dusty Baker's team needed some sort of spark.
On a rain-soaked Monday night at Great American Ball Park, that spark was Todd Frazier, who went 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBIs in an 8-1 win over the Giants that was called after six innings because of weather.
While Frazier led the way, it was a productive night for the entire Cincinnati offense, which hadn't scored more than five runs at home since an 8-2 win over Cleveland on May 28.
"I think we were more aggressive tonight," Baker said. "We weren't getting deep in the count; we were attacking the first pitch. Sometimes that's what it takes. If you don't know what else to do, go on the attack."
Cincinnati used big innings in the second and third, along with a strong bounce-back performance from starter Bronson Arroyo, to earn the much-needed win after dropping seven of its previous 10 games.
After a scoreless first, the bottom of the second inning opened with three straight hits by the Reds, including an RBI single by Frazier. Zack Cozart drove in a second run with a sacrifice fly before Arroyo moved Frazier and Ryan Hanigan to second and third on a bunt. That set up Derrick Robinson's two-run double, which gave Cincinnati a 4-0 lead after two.
In the third inning, Frazier struck again, connecting on a three-run blast after Joey Votto and Jay Bruce both singled. It was Frazier's 10th home run of the season and his first since June 17 against the Pirates.
Frazier entered Monday coming off a 3-for-24 road trip that was part of a 12-for-67 slump. After driving in just six runs in June, Frazier's four RBIs in the first game of July matched a career high.
As a team, Cincinnati collected 11 hits and left just four runners on base.
Arroyo was the most appreciative of the early production from Frazier and the Reds, as he was able to be aggressive with more room for error. Other than one walk, Arroyo didn't allow a baserunner until Giants starter Mike Kickham hit a one-out double in the third. He then retired the next five batters he faced before allowing his only run of the game on a leadoff homer by Brandon Belt in the top of fifth.
"It was beautiful," Arroyo said of the run support. "That allows you to pitch free and easy, especially with the trip we had. We didn't score a lot of runs, especially in the back half of it. It was just nice to get that four-spot early and give me a chance to go out there and throw strikes."
The 36-year-old right-hander came back strong after his worst outing of the season in Oakland last week, pitching all six innings and giving up just two hits to the Giants.
"Might be the only [complete game] I get all year," Arroyo said, jokingly. "But, hey, back of the baseball card 20 years from now, they have no idea."
After a Votto strikeout to end the sixth, play was delayed for one hour and 28 minutes before the game was eventually called. It marked the first time since a five-inning win over the Cubs on Sept. 22, 2006, that the Reds played in a rain-shortened game. By the time the game was officially over, large puddles of standing water had formed in the outfield, bullpens and dugouts.
"You want to play, but with what we're looking at, it's coming down hard and there's flooding in [the dugout]," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "At some point, you have to draw the line."
During the delay, Frazier said he played cards with Johnny Cueto and ate while other players did much of the same. By not having to finish the game, the Reds avoided using the bullpen and the Giants avoided having to use more relief pitchers after Kickham went just 2 2/3 innings.
The division-leading Pirates (51-30) didn't play on Monday, allowing the Reds (47-36) to move to five games back of first place. Although Frazier said every win is important, it was nice to get Monday's victory after watching the team slide in the National League Central in the last couple weeks.
"I'm one of those guys that likes to look at where we're at in the standings," Frazier said. "Five-and-a-half games back, that's not where we should be. We know that. We know we're a good team, so when we get a 'W' it's really nice."