The handwriting was scribbled on the dugout wall in the first inning: “This will not be a good night for Bronson Arroyo.”
Why so? Well, the first batter he faced, Colorado’s Corey Dickerson, tripled. It was the first time all year the first batter against Arroyo punched a hit.
And Arroyo walked Troy Tulowitzki, the first walk Arroyo had issued in five starts spanning 29 2/3 innings.
The Rockies only scored one run in that first inning, but it was only a precursor. Before the night was over Colorado had nine runs and 19 hits and the Cincinnati Reds were 9-6 losers.
Severe damage was perpetrated by 17-year veteran first baseman Todd Helton with two three-run home runs.
Despite Arroyo’s shaky start, he had a 2-1 lead when the fourth inning began. By the end of the fourth inning it was 6-2 and Arroyo was gone.
The Rockies put together six straight hits to score five runs.
It began with an infield hit by Tulowitzki. Wilin Rosario singled to left, bringing up Helton. He drove an Arroyo delivery halfway to the distant Rocky Mountains, his first three-run homer.
But the Rockies weren’t finished in that inning. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackman singled. Charlie Culberson (who are these guys?) lined one to left and the ball carried above left fielder Ryan Ludwick and it ticked off his glove and rolled to the wall as two runs scored. It was ruled a hit.
Ludwick retrieved one of those two runs with a two-out home run in the fifth, cutting it to 6-3.
Then came the seventh against Logan Ondrusek and it was déjà vu. Once again Tulowitzki and Rosario singled. Once against Helton crushed a three-run home run — his sixth RBI of the game and a 9-3 Rockies lead.
And that’s the way it stayed until the Reds scored three in the ninth off Jeff Francis on a two-run single by Brandon Phillips and a sacrifice fly by Devin Mesoraco.
It was Arroyo’s shortest night of the year — 3 1/3 innings, six runs, nine hits.
Colorado starter Jorge De La Rosa lasted six innings and annexed his 15th victory for a team that is eight games under .500 and buried deep in the National League West standings.
Rosario had four hits and Tulowitzki had three hits and a walk. But it was Mr. Rockie, Helton, who wielded the bludgeon.
The Pittsburgh Pirates shut out the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-0, the second straight time the Cardinals were shut out after the Reds did it to them, 10-0, Wednesday. So the Pirates and Cardinals are tied for first in the National League Central and the Reds remain 3 ½ back.