ST. LOUIS -- Even as he retired batter after batter in order -- 15 Cardinals in a row to begin his night -- Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo knew he couldn't relax on Tuesday night.
"To be honest with you, I hate being in ballgames when you have a no-hitter and you're only winning 1-0," Arroyo said. "I always feel like the guy with the no-no always loses it. I've seen that happen so many times, it's ridiculous."
This time it happened to him. Arroyo took a perfect game into the sixth inning only to give up four runs during Cincinnati's 5-1 loss to the Cardinals.
Holding a narrow 1-0 lead on Brandon Phillips' fourth-inning sacrifice fly, Arroyo lost the bid for perfection when Daniel Descalso led off the sixth with a double to right field.
With one out in the sixth, left-handed pinch-hitter Matt Adams spoiled the shutout by launching a 1-1 curveball into the right-field bullpen.
"He was throwing the majority of offspeed all game," Adams said. "With the tying run at third base, I had a pretty good idea that I was going to get an offspeed pitch sometime during that at-bat."
The hits kept coming as Jon Jay hit a single to left field and Matt Carpenter slashed a single to right field to put runners on second and third. An intentional walk to Matt Holliday loaded the bases. Another run crossed when Jay scored on Allen Craig's groundout to second base. Carlos Beltran added an RBI single to center field that scored Carpenter. Holliday tried to score on the play, but Shin-Soo Choo snagged the ball on one hop and fired a perfect strike to the plate for the third out.
"It happened so quickly," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Then the pinch-hitter came up and deposited one over the fence. After that it was boom, bam, boom. That's what they do. They can score a lot."
Arroyo finished with four runs and five hits allowed over six innings with the one intentional walk and two strikeouts. He is now 8-14 in his 34-game career against St. Louis.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn matched Arroyo early by retiring his first 10 batters until Zack Cozart hit a one-out single to left field in the fourth. Following a Joey Votto single to right field, Cozart scored from third base on Phillips' sacrifice fly.
The Reds scored 51 runs through their first seven games, including 13 vs. the Cardinals in Monday's win, but offense was tough to come by Tuesday. After Lynn departed, the St. Louis bullpen faced the minimum number of batters -- nine.
"Bronson was doing what he does. They weren't getting any good swings off of him. It was that one inning," Cozart said. "We didn't do anything offensively. It's tough to pitch knowing you don't want to give up any runs because we're not hitting. Offensive has to do a better job."
Arroyo has never thrown a no-hitter during his career. Last season on June 26 against the Brewers in Cincinnati, he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before he was foiled by a one-out double by Taylor Green. Then on Aug. 11 at Philadelphia, he was perfect into the fifth inning until Domonic Brown hit a two-out home run.
"I felt like I had good stuff," Arroyo said. "I was hoping to get to the bottom of the order. I was hoping Lynn didn't have so many pitches so he'd stay in there and hit for himself. That didn't happen. I didn't have any information, really, on Adams other than a little bit of a scouting report. I threw the breaking ball on the wrong side of the plate, let him get his arms extended."
In retiring those first 15 retired hitters, Arroyo only threw 63 pitches, with 43 strikes. Only three pitches yielded a swing and a miss.
Yet, it was still far from perfection.
"I never feel comfortable against this lineup until it's 27 outs and we have a win in our back pocket because it just doesn't come easy against these guys," Arroyo said. "Some teams and some environments are very difficult to pitch in. This is definitely one of them."