PHOENIX -- The Cincinnati Reds padded their NL Central lead in a place they haven't had much success.
Coming off a wild week of momentum that ended on upswing, it was just what they needed.
Paul Janish hit a tiebreaking solo home run in the seventh inning and Bronson Arroyo overcame Kelly Johnson's early two-run homer to pitch into the eighth, helping the Reds open a crucial nine-game West Coast road trip with a 6-2 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
"We haven't had a whole lot of series like we had the last two at home and you don't really want to start going up and down like that, so it was definitely important for this road trip off to a good start," Arroyo said.
|More on the Reds|
The Reds got to the desert on an emotional upswing.
The low came early last week in a tense, three-game sweep by St. Louis at home. The Reds alleviated some of the sting with their three-game, weekend sweep over Florida to go back atop the division.
The big swings set up a critical trip through the west, not one of their favorite places to play.
Cincinnati has seen many seasons blow up with wicked West Coast swings and is only 16-35 in the Pacific time zone over the past five years. The Reds have had some success against Arizona, but have a 12-game losing streak at Dodger Stadium, the next stop after Phoenix before heading to San Francisco.
With six games against teams in contention around the corner, Cincinnati didn't need a setback against the last-place Diamondbacks.
Arroyo (13-7) gave the Reds a chance, rallying after giving up Johnson's 19th home run two batters into the game. His replacement, Arthur Rhodes, escaped a jam in the eighth inning with two big strikeouts and Scott Rolen had two of his three RBI on a cusion-adding single in the ninth.
Cincinnati offset a career-high 10 strikeouts by Daniel Hudson (3-1) with 11 hits and matched a season high with its fifth consecutive road win. The victory, combined with the Cardinals' loss against Milwaukee, pushed the Reds two games up in the NL Central and 17 games over .500 (68-51) for the first time since finishing the 1999 season 96-67.
"It's [the lead] back to two and hopefully we can add some more," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Arroyo got the trip off to a rough start, giving up a leadoff double to Chris Young and Johnson's home run to right on a low-but-over-the-plate slider -- both on 1-2 counts. The high-kicking right-hander hit his stride, so to speak, after that, retiring the next 11 batters before Miguel Montero lined a single to center with two outs in the fourth inning.
Arroyo gave up a leadoff double to Johnson in the eighth inning and was lifted with one out after allowing two runs and six hits.
"He does what he always does: he throws strikes, he knows how to command the zone when he needs to, he knows how to change speeds he is a very smart pitcher," Diamondbacks interim manager Kirk Gibson said. "We didn't capitalize on our opportunities. We had guys on second base with nobody out two times and didn't get them over. If you are going to beat a team like this you need to do those things."
Hudson set a career-high with nine strikeouts against Milwaukee last Wednesday and was well ahead of that pace against the Reds, fanning eight straight over the first three innings.
Hudson didn't miss as many bats after that, though, and the Reds capitalized.
Cincinnati had a run erased in the fifth inning when Drew Stubbs missed third base on Janish's double and was called out on appeal.
Laynce Nix managed to touch the bag in the next inning, scoring on Rolen's run-scoring single to right. Another run came in on Jay Bruce's second successive 3-6-3 double play, tying the score at 2.
Janish didn't have to worry about his teammates' feet in the seventh inning, lifting a solo home run to left, his fourth, to break the tie. Cincinnati added to the lead in the ninth on two hit batters, a wild pitch by D.J. Carrasco and Rolen's single.
Hudson allowed three runs and nine hits.
"I thought I threw the ball pretty well," Hudson said. "I had a few punchouts, but the last couple of innings I left a few balls up. Good hitting teams smash those ball like they did."
- Arizona has 23 home runs since Aug. 1, matching Washington for most on the NL.
- Cincinnati has won six straight at Arizona.
- LaRoche made what has becoming a routine play for him at first in the seventh inning, snaring Arroyo's foul pop as he leaned over the rail.