CINCINNATI -- It's hard to say who needed Bronson Arroyo's Tuesday night outing more -- the Reds or Arroyo.
The Reds needed innings from their starter. Arroyo needed to take a step forward to give him confidence that this comeback thing is going to work out.
Arroyo's performance wasn't great. He went five innings and allowed three runs on five hits in the Reds' 9-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. He walked two and struck out four.
But it was Arroyo's first win since June 15, 2014. He beat the Los Angeles Dodgers that day for the Arizona Diamondbacks, despite pitching with a torn ligament in his elbow.
He'll take it.
"The game is tough, man. A win is a win," Arroyo said. "They don't come very often, no matter who you are, so you better celebrate it."
Arroyo's story makes this win -- the 146th of his career -- special. He tore the ligament off the bone in that last win in 2014. That led to Tommy John surgery. Arroyo later had shoulder surgery as well. He decided to give it more shot with his old team this year.
Arroyo's first two starts were bad enough — 10 innings, 11 runs on 13 hits — that he knew he had to better better quickly. The Twitter gang wanted him released after the second outing.
He was better Tuesday. In fact, he was pretty good except for one pitch. Arroyo tried to a get an 84 mph fastball by Adan Jones in the fifth on 1-2 count. It was up in the zone and on the inner half. Jones hit a bullet out to left for a two-run shot.
The other run scored on Jonathan Schoop's two-out, broke-bat blooper into left.
Reds manager Bryan Price could not have been happier.
"You have no idea, really," Price said. "It's one of my really favorite relationships that I've had with a player in my coaching and managing career. We've always stayed in touch.
"I really value him as a person. It's a relationship that transcends coach-player. To see him come back and get a win for the first time since June, 2014, it was great. There were a lot of questions if he could not only make it back, but he picked up a win and threw the ball better than the first two starts. A lot of good things with Bronson today."
The four strikeouts were telling, and who he struck out and when was more telling: He got J.J. Hardy in the second Manny Machado in the third and Mark Trumbo in the fourth with runners on. Those are just the kind of hitters that can really hurt Arroyo because of their power.
"Those are the things you have to do to be able to get out of some of these jams," Arroyo said. "If you feel like you've got your back to the wall every time you've got guys on base and you're having to pitch to one side of the plate because your command's not there or because you just don't have anything other than one pitch to get these guys out, it's impossible.
"Big-league hitters are too good to be approached in one facet, even if you're throwing 95, much less if you're throwing 83. So, it was nice to go out there and feel like I had enough stuff to control the situation and not let it get out of hand."
Arroyo will get the ball again Sunday against World Champion Chicago Cubs.
He doesn't want a free pass. The Reds need him in the rotation now with so many injuries.
"I want to give this team the best opportunity to win the most ball games, and that's just the way it has to be," he said. "It can't be ego-driven. So, if I'm feeling tired after 75-80 pitches all the time, there might be a time where some of the young guys step into my role and I have to be the long guy in the 'pen or something like that.
"I think Bryan and myself are keeping an open mind and taking it day-by-day and we'll see. We'll see what happens, I was encouraged and tonight the stuff was a little more crisp. I felt like I could get outs when I really needed it. I would still like to feel stronger deeper in the game."