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Soto: 8 2/3 innings of scoreless relief

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, recovering from food poisoning and/or intestinal flu, forcing me to miss the first two games of the Reds-Orioles series and I’m not happy about it.

In last week’s Ask Hal column, Banker Bill of Villa Hills, Ky., asked me about a game pitcher Mario Soto entered in the first inning and pitched a perfect game the rest of the way.

I SAID, AFTER SOME RESEARCH, that I couldn’t find it and told B.B. he owed me 30 minutes of my life.

Well, several readers responded that they remembered that game and some said they were there. The best evidence came from John Rammel, who was at the game on May 5, 1980 and he included a box score.

It wasn’t a perfect performance. Bruce Berenyi started the game, the first of a twi-night doubleheader, and gave up six runs in the first inning. Soto entered the game with two outs. He was 0-and-3 at the time, but pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up three hits, walking one and striking out five. And the Reds came from 6-0 down to win, 8-6.

Wonder whatever happened to Soto? Or Bruce Berenyi?

FOR THOSE WHO DOUBTED that Bronson Arroyo, age 40 and absent from a major league pitching mound for nearly three years, could make a comeback, well, did you see him put it to the potent Baltimore Orioles lineup Tuesday?

Arroyo wasn’t good in his first two outings, clearly understandable. You could almost see the rust falling off his arm.

But on Tuesday his velocity was up a couple of miles an hour and his command of the strike zone was almost where it was when he was the Reds’ best and most reliable pitcher.

AFTER HIS SECOND START, the deadly honest Arroyo told writers he knew he had to get better or he was at Dead End Street. But deep down, you knew Arroyo knew he could still retire frustrated hitters waving futilely at his pitching assortment that varies in speed from 69 miles and hour to 86 miles an hour — most of them in the 75 to 78 category.

As always, Arroyo proves that you don’t have to be able to throw a baseball through a concrete bridge abutment to get hitters out.

Pete Rose used to say that hard-throwing pitchers like Rob Dibble could throw a ball through a car wash without getting it wet. Arroyo’s pitches would leave the car wash soaked to the stitches, but hitters don’t like hitting wet baseballs.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I don’t think any of our guys are going to hit .400, but I do think Zack Cozart will hit .450.” — Reds manager Bryan Price and, yes, he was kidding. I think. Entering Wednesday’s game against the Orioles, Cozart was hitting .425 with three triples, a home run, two doubles and eight RBI in 48 plate appearances. And his defense remains impeccable

MLB-TV had a segment recently listing nine or ten best shortstops in the majors and Cozart wasn’t mentioned. What are they watching?

I HATE TO BEG, but I am. My driver, Ray Snedegar and I, need gas money so we can travel to and from Great American Ball Park to cover Reds home games.

Many of you already have responded generously and it is deeply appreciated. But we need more. If you have a few bucks you don’t need, go to my website, halmccoy.com, and click on the PayPal icon on the home page to donate — and every little bit helps. And thanks so much.


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