OAKLAND, Calif. -- What began as an awful road trip for the Cincinnati Reds is suddenly looking a lot better.
One total run in three losses at Seattle. Now, a pair of victories and a chance to sweep in Oakland."That'd be like a reverse sweep," manager Dusty Baker quipped.Bronson Arroyo rediscovered his control and didn't walk a batter in eight strong innings, Corky Miller hit a two-run single and the Reds beat the Athletics 4-2 on Tuesday night."When you get swept like we did in Seattle, you take the mindset of we've got to win two of three from these guys," Arroyo said.Joey Votto added an RBI double in the third as the Reds quickly jumped on Dallas Braden, whose winless skid reached eight starts since his perfect game against Tampa Bay on May 9. Braden is 0-5 during that stretch and he's even been growing a beard in an effort to get out of his funk."I may have a shaved head tomorrow," Braden said good-naturedly.A's center fielder Coco Crisp hit a two-run homer in his third game this season following two stints on the disabled list, the latest with a strained rib cage. Crisp was activated earlier in the day and his third-inning drive was his first homer since May 12, 2009, for Kansas City at Oakland."I was a little nervous, as expected," Crisp said. "It's always nice when you can do something above and beyond."Arroyo (7-3) was coming off a career-high six walks in a win over the Dodgers, but commanded the strike zone this time for his first start of the season without a walk."That's Bronson, he can get on a roll," Baker said. "It's much welcomed. He was dealing tonight and made just one mistake."Arroyo allowed two runs and five hits in a 105-pitch performance, winning his third straight decision against the A's, but first since Sept. 17, 2005, for Boston.Arroyo relied on his effective changeup and sinker, what Crisp described as "a weird assortment of pitches.""He just flicks it up there," Crisp said.Francisco Cordero allowed a pair of singles in the ninth but recovered for his 18th save in 23 chances as the Reds stayed within a game of NL Central-leading St. Louis, which won at Toronto. Ryan Sweeney grounded into a double play to end the 2-hour, 27-minute game.The A's dropped to 34-39 and a season-worst five games under .500. They lost for the sixth time in seven games and ninth in 11.Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce each had three hits for Cincinnati, which rallied for a 6-4, 10-inning win in Monday's series opener to get back on track after the struggles at Safeco Field last weekend."I just think we learned our lesson in Seattle," Phillips said. "We've just got to get our pitches to hit. It's time to battle down, forget Seattle and move on."Votto's double in the third marked his 31st straight game in which he's reached safely, the second-longest such streak in the majors this year.Oakland is 6-15 in June and a season-high 9 1/2 games behind AL West-leading Texas after the A's led the division at the end of May.Braden (4-7) allowed 10 hits, one off his season high, and four runs in six innings. The left-hander hasn't gone more than 6 1/3 innings in his last seven starts after lasting eight innings in his first outing after the perfecto, on May 14 against the Angels in Anaheim."Plenty of speed bumps," Braden said of his latest start. "The car ran pretty good. Turn 1 was good, Turn 2 and 3 had some speed bumps. I got into Turn 4, 5, a couple speed bumps, Turn 6 kind of flattened out. Overall, bumpy track."
Baker hosted longtime buddy and blues and rock-and-roll musician Elvin Bishop in his office before the game. The two are regular fishing partners in Northern California during the offseason. ... Baker planned to rest 3B Scott Rolen for Wednesday afternoon's series finale, which would give him a two-day break with Thursday's off day. ... Baker's rotation is penciled in up until the All-Star break but he said he has the flexibility to give pitchers an extra day between starts if he determines someone needs it. ... Reds RHP Edinson Volquez, who had Tommy John surgery last Aug. 3, is still on track to return before the All-Star break. "Getting Volquie back is like making a major trade and not giving up anybody," Baker said. ... Oakland's Kevin Kouzmanoff, who came in batting .417 (20 for 48) in interleague play this season, went 0 for 3.