NEW YORK -- Not only were the Reds facing an old Andy Pettitte, they faced what seemed to be the old Andy Pettitte.
That turned out to be the misfortune of Bronson Arroyo and the Reds as they were shut out for the first time this season in a 4-0 loss to the Yankees in the opener of Interleague Play on Friday night at Yankee Stadium. Arroyo trailed by only a 1-0 score until two outs in the eighth before allowing a pair of home runs. Still, his outing deserved a better outcome.
"A loss is a loss, so it isn't that pleasing regardless," Arroyo said.
In his second big league start since coming out of retirement, Pettitte didn't look like a guy who was idle all of 2011. The 39-year-old turned in a tremendous performance, with nine strikeouts and one walk over eight innings. All four hits allowed by the left-hander were singles. He threw 115 pitches for his first victory since July 8, 2010.
"He must have been doing something real good while he was retired," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He looked as sharp as I've ever seen him."
Arroyo pitched 7 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on nine hits, while walking one and striking out four. He's now 2-2 with a 3.46 ERA.
"He was doing everything," Yankees right fielder Raul Ibanez said of Arroyo. "He was pitching backwards, he was throwing his offspeed pitches for strikes, showing you his fastball when he needed to. He's a good pitcher. He pitches. His numbers look good, but he looked really good."
The go-ahead run scored in the fourth inning of a scoreless game as Curtis Granderson came home on an Alex Rodriguez groundout. Otherwise, the Yankees were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Credit goes to Arroyo and the defense, which escaped with a runner on third base and fewer than two outs in the third, fourth and sixth innings.
In the bottom of the sixth, Arroyo escaped a bases-loaded, no-outs jam and also caught a break. Rodriguez grounded to third base, where Todd Frazier knocked the ball down and fired home for a fielder's choice. Derek Jeter was called out when the throw home beat him, even though Ryan Hanigan's foot was not touching the plate.
"I thought that was the turning point of the game," Baker said. "We just couldn't get consecutive hits like they did in the eighth."
Arroyo, who had thrown only 83 pitches through seven innings, retired his first two batters in the eighth and seemed poised to go the distance. Then he hung a 2-2 breaking ball to Robinson Cano, who sent it into the right-field seats for a home run. Rodriguez lined a first-pitch single before Ibanez hit a 3-1 hanging breaking ball for a two-run homer.
"I wished I could have got out of that inning with just the one run and give us an opportunity," Arroyo said. "Trying to come back with four in the ninth after not hitting the whole game was impossible."
That was essentially because of Pettitte. The Reds' best -- and only -- chance to score came in the first inning, when Zack Cozart struck out but reached second base on a passed ball and throwing error by catcher Chris Stewart. Cozart went to third base on a Drew Stubbs sacrifice, but was left stranded when Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips both struck out.
"You want to get on the board early," Baker said. "I had my best hitter up there, Votto, too. They had the infield back, so they were conceding the run."
Cincinnati had leadoff singles in the third and sixth innings, but nothing materialized. Hanigan stayed on first base as Pettitte struck out the side in the third. In the sixth, after his single, Stubbs was nailed trying to steal second base.
"I had only watched him on TV before and had never seen him in person," Reds left fielder Chris Heisey said of Pettitte. "One, he just knows how to pitch. Two, he can throw a bunch of different pitches for strikes in any count. And even if he doesn't throw as hard as he used to, he still can keep you off balance enough."
Pettitte, who has 241 career wins and a lengthy postseason pedigree since debuting in 1995, retired 11 of his final 13 batters to put Cincinnati at 2-3 on the road trip with two more games left in the five-game swing through New York.
"He had everything working tonight," Baker said. "He was tough."