In hindsight, Bronson Arroyo probably should have thrown the sinker.
Justin Maxwell hit a curveball out for a two-run home run Sunday off Arroyo in the seventh inning of the Reds’ 5-3 loss to Houston.
“It was a back and forth between me and (catcher Ryan) Hanigan,” Arroyo said. “I wanted to go sinker in. He wanted me to throw a sweeping breaking ball. I knew he didn’t want me to throw the sinker. It was breaking ball. It was wasn’t the sweeping one. It was 12-6. It stayed over the middle of the plate.”
The Reds have scored a total of six runs in Arroyo’s last four starts. He knew he couldn’t afford to give up more when Maxwell came up with one out in the seventh and the Astros ahead 3-2.
“Those are the chess-match battles that go on when you don’t have unbelievable stuff,” Arroyo said. “It’s a head game. You try to figure it out quickly and on the spot. Hanigan is trying to size guys up quickly as well. We got beat.”
Arroyo went 6 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out five. He has only put up one quality start in his last four outings. Arroyo has allowed nine runs in 10 1/3 innings his last two times out.
Arroyo was 8-0 in his last eight starts against Houston before Sunday. Houston used every left-handed hitter it had but one.
“I felt decent (against the lefties),” he said. “I was running a two-seamer in there and freezing those guys for punch-outs. Ultimately, it was right-handers that broke our backs. That’s the way it goes. It didn’t roll our way today.”
Votto keeps beating up on Astros
–1B Joey Votto extended his hitting streak to 10 games, during which he is 19-for-33 (.578) with 10 runs. Votto has hit safely in 21 consecutive games at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.
–RHP Sam LeCure threw two scoreless innings to earn the victory in the Reds’ 12-9 win over Houston on Saturday night. “I looked at some video,” LeCure said. “They didn’t foul a pitch off. They might have swung at two pitches out of the strike zone, but otherwise they were taking balls and swinging at strikes. That sounds self-explanatory, but it makes it tough on us. You have to throw a strike to get a strike. … I’m thinking I got to be a little bit careful. I walked a couple of guys. I was trying to find the middle ground between being aggressive and careful.”
–RHP Mat Latos (averaging 5 2/3 innings per start) lasted 3 1/3 innings Saturday. “We’ve got to find a way to get Mat through the innings,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We thought we were over the hump.” Latos went seven and 7 1/3 innings in his previous two starts.
–3B Todd Frazier doubled in an eight-pitch, pinch-hit at-bat Sunday. He went 4-for-14 with three RBI on the road trip.
–SS Zack Cozart hit his sixth home run Sunday, his first homer since May 5. Even after going 2-for-4 Sunday, he batting .201 (30-for-149) with a .242 on-base percentage in that position.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1.26 — The Reds’ bullpen ERA on the six-game road trip that ended Sunday.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I’m sorry they’re going to the American League.” — 1B Joey Votto, on the Astros. He’s hitting .427 at Minute Maid Park, where he has hit safely in 21 consecutive games.
–RHP Nick Masset (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He threw on flat ground May 24 for the first time. There is no timetable for his return.
–LHP Bill Bray (strained left groin) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 19. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Louisville on April 29, but he moved back to extended spring training in Goodyear, Ariz., after one outing. He resumed throwing May 28, and he threw a bullpen session June 1. He might be able to start a rehab assignment in early June.
–3B Scott Rolen (strained left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 12. He had yet to resume baseball activities on May 29.
–RHP Ryan Madson (Tommy John surgery in April 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list April 4. He is out for the season.