Durability was on display at Great American Ball Park on Saturday.
Before the game, the Reds honored retiring pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who literally didn’t miss a start in his first tour of duty with Cincinnati, which lasted eight seasons.
Catcher Tucker Barnhart put the finishing touch on another feat. He made his 100th start of the season, giving the Reds a franchise-record nine players in triple figures in starts. Several previous teams had eight players with at least 100 starts, the last the 1975 through 1977 teams.
The Boston Red Sox, the team Arroyo helped win the 2004 World Series, put a damper on Durbility Day. Mitch Moreland banged a three-run home run into the seats in deep right-center field and Boston scored two unearned runs while improving to 11-1 against the Reds in interleague play with a 5-0 win.
The fifth straight loss to teams either in the playoffs or with realistic hopes after a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh left Cincinnati 7-7 in shutouts. The shutout win was Boston’s third in the last four games.
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The Reds committed two errors and catcher Tucker Barnhart was charged with a passed ball before a crowd of 36,076, the largest at Great American Ball Park since Aug. 4, when a crowd of 36,443 was on hand to see the Reds edge St. Louis, 3-2.
Joey Votto’s ninth-inning throwing error snapped at 53 his streak of consecutive errorless games.
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After watching from a rocking chair video tributes from former Red Sox and Reds teammates as well as manager Bryan Price, rock star Eddie Vedder and Wayne Krivsky, who as Cincinnati general manager acquired Arroyo from Boston, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia presented the pitcher with the “61” number panel from Fenway Park’s hand-operated scoreboard.
Arroyo also received from his last appearance on June 18 the framed lineup card, jersey and spikes and a Reds-oriented acoustic guitar.
Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez kept the Reds – wearing green jerseys as part of Irish Heritage Day – hitless and allowed just one baserunner on a walk until Votto dunked a blooper down the left field line. Left fielder and Greater Cincinnati native Andrew Benintendi threw Votto out trying to stretch the hit into a double with Votto’s slide coming up a bit short of second base, much like actor Wesley Snipes’ character, Willie Mays Hayes, in the movie “Major League.”
Scooter Gennett led off the fifth with a single to center field, but he was erased one out later on Adam Duvall’s inning-ending double-play ball.
Xander Bogaerts led off the game against Robert Stephenson by sharply grounding a double down the third base line and into the left field corner. He went to third on a passed ball and scored on Brock Holt’s sacrifice fly.
Stephenson was charged with an error on Holt’s leadoff bouncer in the sixth. Moreland followed Benintendi’s walk by snapping a 0-for-19 slump with his 20th homer of the season and second in September.
Manager Bryan Price wasn’t sure if the error bother Stephenson.
“It could’ve,” he said. “That’s one the challenges of this game – when you make a mistake, get beyond it. That’s part of the game. It can linger. That’s not an excuse. That may have had nothing to do with what followed.”
“I feel like I was pretty upset and lost focus,” Stephenson said. “I walked the guy and left a split up to Moreland, and he knew what to do with it.”
Stephenson (5-6), 5-1 with a 2.84 ERA over his previous six starts, allowed five hits and four runs – two earned – with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings.
Amir Garrett got two quick outs in the seventh before walking two batters on nine pitches and giving up Benintendi’s RBI single.
Cincinnati right-hander Luke Farrell pitched the ninth with his father, Boston manager John Farrell, watching intently from the visitors’ dugout.
“There was a little added pressure for me,” Luke said. “That’s the first time we’ve been on the same field together. You want to do well for your team.”
Farrell admitted trying to sneak a peek at his father.
“Before the inning, maybe a couple of times, but once the inning started, I was totally locked in,” he said.
John and Luke were the only family members on hand for the reunion.
“Nobody else was able to make it in,” Luke said. “I’m sure I’ll have some fun texts to come back to.”
Meanwhile, he was looking forward to dinner with Dad.
“Hopefully, he’s buying,” Luke joked.
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