CINCINNATI -- Bronson Arroyo gets winded earlier as his body adjusts after more than two years away from a major league mound. He can't throw as hard, and 80 pitches often feels like 100. But, even at 40 years old, Arroyo remains a crafty veteran who is able to figure out how to get more from less.
"I have to be Houdini, just being out of the game for so long," Arroyo said. "Hardly anybody comes back from elbow and shoulder surgeries, let alone both in the same year."
And yet, Arroyo is doing just that.
Adam Duvall hit his first career grand slam and Joey Votto added a two-run home run to hand Arroyo a huge early lead, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to a 9-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a three-game interleague series at Great American Ball Park.
Arroyo (1-2), who needed a positive start after two rough outings in his return to the major leagues, allowed three runs in five innings. He kept the Orioles off-balance with his array of arm angles and speed changes while allowing hitters to put the ball in play.
"He managed a very difficult lineup," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He was very confidently throwing fastballs. He knows how to manage the zone. Way more acute with his location tonight."
Arroyo struck out four and walked two over 82 pitches while earning his first victory since June 15, 2014, when he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"I'm encouraged by tonight," Arroyo said. "I felt a little crisper with the sinker and the breaking ball. It was huge to get the early lead. I was able to attack the zone. I didn't need to worry about a two-run homer."
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones hit a two-run home run off Arroyo, his third of the season. However, Baltimore was blanked by the Reds bullpen over the final four innings.
Right-hander Kevin Gausman (1-1) started for Baltimore and didn't make it through the third inning, allowing 13 of 20 batters to reach base.
Not much went right for Gausman or the Orioles in the first two innings.
Cincinnati loaded the bases in the first on a walk and a pair of singles before Duvall's sacrifice fly opened the scoring.
"I think my front hip was coming open and I couldn't drive my four-seamer down-and-away," Gausman said. "Today was like my first two starts, where the ball was coming back to the middle of the plate. My front hip was leaking a little too soon."
Gausman lasted 2 2/3 innings, the second-shortest start of his career. He was charged with eight runs, one of which scored on Votto's two-run homer off Vidal Nuno to make it 9-1.
Gausman saw his ERA balloon from 3.94 to 7.23.
"He never got in a groove," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He didn't present command or a secondary pitch they could box out. You've got to tip your cap to (the Reds), too."
Gausman was at 44 pitches when Cincinnati loaded the bases for the third time in the second. He got enough of the plate with an 0-2 pitch to Duvall, who muscled it out to left for a grand slam, making it 6-1. The five RBIs tied Duvall's career high.
"It was like every time I came up, the bases were loaded," Duvall said. "With two strikes (on the grand slam), I was just battling. It was a changeup, I think. It wasn't a bad pitch."
The Reds were leading 7-1 when Scooter Gennett was thrown out by second baseman Jonathan Schoop attempting to score from first on Tucker Barnhart's single to center, ending the second inning.
Still, Arroyo had all the runs he needed to get through five and earn a long-awaited victory.
"This game's tough, man," Arroyo said. "A win's a win. I was efficient enough. I want to give this team the best chance to win. That's what it's all about. This can't be ego driven."
NOTES: Orioles LF Seth Smith left the game in the sixth due to a strained right hamstring. ... Reds 3B Eugenio Suarez was scratched from the lineup because of a stiff neck. Scooter Gennett started at third and went 1-for-5. ... Reds RHP Lisalverto Bonilla was recalled from Triple-A Louisville, where he was 2-0 with a 5.56 ERA in two starts. RHP Sal Romano, who made his major league debut on Sunday, was optioned to Triple-A. Romano allowed three runs (two earned) in three innings for Cincinnati. ... Baltimore played in Cincinnati for the first time since 2005.