By HAL McCOY
Neither Bronson Arroyo nor Robert Stephenson will scribble any positive notations in their personal journals about April 8, 2017.
It was a Bad Day at Busch for both. And it was a nasty afternoon for the Cincinnati Reds, a 10-4 whipping from the St. Louis Cardinals.
Arroyo, making his first major league appearance in nearly 2 ½ years, was greeted with scorn by the Cardinals, particularly by 26-year-old shortstop Aledmys Diaz.
Diaz faced Arroyo twice and homered twice as part of a Cardinals victory Saturday afternoon in Busch Stadium that ended Cincinnati’s three-game winning streak.
ARROYO PITCHED FIVE INNINGS and gave up six runs, six hits and, most noteworthy, three walks. Walking people is not something Arroyo did during his first stint with the Reds and the rust on his arm was obvious.
Meanwhile, Stephenson replaced Arroyo for his first appearance this season in the sixth and it was plug ugly. In just 1 1/3 innings Stephenson walked six and gave up three runs and three hits.
Up to that time, the Reds bullpen had given up just one run in 15 1/3 innings and was working on 12 straight scoreless innings.
ARROYO, 40, WAS THE FIRST Reds pitcher 40 or older to make a start since 1945. The last time somebody over 40 started for the Reds was a back-to-back event when 46-year-old Hod Lisanbee and 40-year-old Boom Boom Beck pitched on June 8 and June 9 of 1945 against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Of course, that was during World War II and most able-bodied major leaguers were doing duty in the military.
And it was the first time somebody over 38 started for the Reds since the iconic Joe Nuxhall, at age 38, pitched his last game for the Reds in September of 1966 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
DIAZ WAS THE SECOND batter Arroyo faced in the first inning and he blasted a hanging curveball over the left field wall. Arroyo then walked Matt Adams and Yadier Molina blooped a run-scoring double that plopped on the right field line for a 2-0 St. Louis lead.
Arroyo gave up a walk and an infield hit in the second, but no runs, and pitched a 1-2-3 third.
But all four tires went flat in the fourth. He gave up a double to Jedd Gyrko but had two outs and pitcher Micheal Wacha at the plate, owner of a .192 career batting average.
No matter, Wacha rolled a run-scoring single up the middle. Arroyo walked Dexter Fowler and Diaz repeated his first-inning swing, drilling a three-run homer to left off another hanging curveball to make it 6-1.
STEPHENSON WALKED THE first two Cardinals he faced in the fifth and balked the runners to third and second. But he escaped damage with a strikeout, a ground ball, an intentional walk to fill the bases and a strikeout of Wacha on a 3-and-2 pitch.
But he didn’t get out of the sixth, due to more wildness.
Fowler walked, Diaz singled for his third straight hit. Matt Carpenter walked on four pitches to fill the bases.
Pitching coach Mack Jenkins visited the mound for a stern lecture. Whatever he said fell on deaf ears. Stephenson walked Jose Martinez on four pitches to force in a run.
Stephenson righted himself briefly by striking out Yadier Molina and Randal Grichuk. But Gyrko ripped a two-run single to right to make it 9-1 and Stephenson’s forgettable day was done.
MANAGER BRYAN PRICE DECIDED to give some of his bench players a start Saturday, benching Billy Hamilton, Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler. In their places were Arismendy Alcantara, Scooter Gennett and Patrick Kivlehan.
It didn’t work.
Alcantara was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Gennett was 0 for 4 with a strikeout. Kivlehan was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
The Reds scored a run in the top of the fourth on doubles by Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez.
They scored two in the eighth when Tucker Barnhart singled and Schebler, who entered the game as part of a double switch, homered for the second time this season.
Eugenio Suarez homered with two outs in the ninth for the final run and a 10-4 scored. And 10-4 it was — as in, over-and-out.
In the first four games, Reds pitchers gave up 10 walks. On Saturday, they gave up 12, nine by the bullpen, six by Stephenson.