Arroyo stymies Brewers

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

He may be wearing an Arizona Diamondbacks uniform these days, but it was the same old Bronson Arroyo on the mound at Miller Park on Wednesday.

The veteran right-hander, who'd pitched the previous eight seasons for the Cincinnati Reds, was up to his old tricks against a free-swinging Milwaukee Brewers team that has been scratching for runs the last few weeks.

Facing Arroyo's vast array of off-speed stuff, the Brewers weren't much of a match. They scratched out one run and five hits against Arroyo and then failed to score with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning against reliever Brad Ziegler before eventually losing, 3-2.

“Arroyo, he's tough,” said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. “He's off-speed every time you think you're going to get a fastball and he throws it for strikes. We have trouble with him.

“It's (frustrating) because sitting there, we know what he's going to throw. When you're expecting a fastball, you're not getting it. But it's hard as a hitter to go up there and think that way.”

The loss was the Brewers' second in three games to the Diamondbacks, who, despite their 13-24 record, limited Milwaukee to just two runs over the final 17 innings of the series with one of the worst pitching staffs in the major leagues.

The Brewers played Wednesday without starter Aramis Ramirez, who was given the day off in the midst of a lengthy slump. Khris Davis, who also has struggled at the plate, was limited to an unsuccessful pinch-hitting appearance in the sixth.

“I want to score some more runs,” acknowledged Roenicke. “Arroyo was good, but we're off.”

The Brewers got off to a good start, with Carlos Gomez bunting his way on to lead off and Scooter Gennett reaching on an error by Martin Prado that allowed Gomez to advance to third.

Gomez then scored on a double-play ground ball—a common occurrence for the Brewers, who hit into four total and three against Arroyo.

Arizona grabbed the lead back in the third when Prado singled to lead off against Wily Peralta and Brewers-killer Paul Goldschmidt homered to left to make it 2-1.

Whereas Arroyo didn't allow another runner past second base before departing with two on and one out in the eighth, Peralta (4-2) had to work around base-runners in every one of his six innings. He allowed a career-high-tying 11 hits, but didn't surrender another run or a walk in giving Milwaukee its league-leading 27th quality start.

“They hit him hard,” said Roenicke. “They did a good job with him and he wasn't on his game. After Goldschmidt hits the homer he doesn't give up anything else—that's pretty good. But he's up in the zone with everything. Sliders were up, fastballs were up. Once in a while he'd make a good pitch down with a sinker and he'd get a swing-through.

“But he kept us there. Two runs after all those hits—that's doing a good job of battling.”

Arroyo helped himself in the eighth against Will Smith, singling to center with one out and then going from first to third on a wild pitch. A Lyle Overbay error on a hard-hit ground ball by Gerardo Parra sent Arroyo home and stretched Arizona's lead to 3-1.

That run came back to haunt the Brewers.

Arroyo (3-2) allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth to Caleb Gindl and then Logan Schafer drew a one-out walk, ending Arroyo's day. Pinch hitter Rickie Weeks greeted Ziegler with a single to left to load the bases against him only to see Gomez hit into a hard 6-4-3 double play.

“Gomey actually hit the ball pretty good,” Roenicke said. “If he hits it 10-15 feet to the right, it's right up the middle and we score two runs. Sometimes (it's) little things.”

In the ninth, Gennett led off with a bloop double against Addison Reed, went to third on a flyout to right by Jonathan Lucroy and scored on a flyout to center by Overbay to pull Milwaukee within a run.

But Mark Reynolds struck out, giving Arizona just its second series victory of the season and Arroyo his 16th career victory against the Brewers in 30 starts.

“Arroyo is unbelievable, man,” said Peralta. “He changes speeds. He knows how to pitch. He doesn't have that 95 (mph) fastball, but he knows how to pitch. He's been in this game for a long time and he knows what he's doing on the mound.”

Things won't get any easier for the Brewers or their offense Friday, when they kick off a three-game interleague series against the New York Yankees and Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka, who enters with a 4-0 record and 2.53 earned-run average.

“We're doing a lot of good things still,” said Overbay. “Obviously we aren't scoring a lot of runs, but we're doing pretty good. We just have to get some breaks our way. We're getting great pitching, so it's not that. It's just more of the timely hitting.”

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