Arroyo tosses three-hitter vs. Giants for first career shutout

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Bronson Arroyo wishes the four-man rotation was still the norm.

Arroyo took his turn a day early and threw his first career shutout Tuesday night, a three-hitter that sent the Cincinnati Reds to a slump-busting 3-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

The Reds finally emerged from the funk of a 2-8 West Coast trip that pushed them back in the pack of NL wild-card contenders. They reached a new season-low point -- two games under .500 -- by dropping the series opener on Monday.

Pitching in a dire situation on three days of rest, Arroyo (12-9) got Cincinnati turned around. The right-hander allowed only three singles, walked one and struck out seven in a 117-pitch performance.

"I've said all along that three days' rest is nothing," said Arroyo, who asked to be moved up in the rotation. "You could pitch with a four-man rotation. I just think people don't want to do it. I feel just as good on the fourth day as the fifth, maybe better."

A day after the Giants reached .500 for the first time since July 27, they slid back down because they couldn't touch Arroyo or overcome a wild first inning by Matt Morris (10-12), who walked four of his first eight batters.

Barry Bonds went 0-for-3 with a walk, ending his streak of three straight games with a homer. Bonds remains 25 shy of Hank Aaron's career homer mark and three away from his NL record.

Ken Griffey Jr. was out of Cincinnati's lineup, a day after he dislocated a toe on his right foot while trying to catch Bonds' 730th career homer. There's no guess when he might be back.

Rich Aurilia and Todd Hollandsworth led the Reds with three hits apiece, but it was Arroyo who led the way.

"Shoot, that was outstanding pitching on three days' rest," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "It's an understatement to say we needed it."

Working on short rest for only the third time in his career, Arroyo looked fresh throughout his fourth complete game of the season. He didn't allow a hit until the fifth, when Eliezer Alfonzo and Morris singled with two outs.

The right-hander kept the Giants off-balance by throwing every pitch in his repertoire -- he even threw a sidearm, 69 mph breaking ball that froze Bonds.

"It was one of those days where everything you throw up there just works out," Arroyo said.

Morris couldn't find the strike zone when he took the mound, and it cost him dearly. He repeatedly gashed the dirt with his cleats and fidgeted on the mound, looking mighty uncomfortable while Cincinnati rallied with his help.

His first eight pitches were out of the strike zone, spotting the Reds a couple runners. Cincinnati took advantage by scoring on Aurilia's broken-bat single, Edwin Encarnacion's sacrifice fly and Hollandsworth's double.

Then, Morris dug in and shut Cincinnati out for the next six innings.

"He threw great," Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "That first inning, I don't know. It's happened to him a couple of times -- a bad first inning, and then he takes charge."

Morris beat the Reds 4-1 with a three-hitter on Aug. 25 but wasn't up to a repeat after more first-inning troubles. He has allowed 26 runs in the first inning this season, his worst frame.

"That's been something I've been dealing with since Little League," Morris said. "I'm just having trouble making the transition from warmups to the game. It was kind of a blur."

The Giants got a break in the third inning, when a jarring tumble by Hollandsworth cost the Reds a run. Hollandsworth would have scored easily on Brandon Phillips' double to left but lost his balance as he rounded third and fell on his chest, forcing him to go back. He wound up stranded when Arroyo bunted into the final out with the bases loaded.

Game notes
The 2-hour, 2-minute game was the quickest for both teams this season. ... Alfonzo was back in the starting lineup, a day after he had to leave a game after getting hit on the left forearm by a fastball. The rookie has caught 65 of 86 games since he was called up from Double-A. ... The Giants changed their pitching plans for the final game of the series, skipping left-hander Noah Lowry
because of a tender arm. Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez will start instead. ... Right-hander Sun-Woo Kim, obtained by the Reds on Tuesday from Colorado, will start the final game of the series on Wednesday. ... The seven shutouts in the major leagues on Tuesday are the most in one day since June 4, 1972, when there were eight. The eight shutouts that day are the most in one day in major-league history.

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