While a court appearance, legal wrangling and some form of punishment likely await him, none of that may be as big of a blow to Mike Leake as what he's already faced, said Cincinnati Reds teammate Bronson Arroyo after Thursday's game at Great American Ball Park.

Before coming to the ballpark Monday, Leake - the Reds' stellar 23-year-old pitcher - was arrested after allegedly stealing six T-shirts worth $59.88 from the downtown Cincinnati Macy's. The incident created an instant buzz in the local media, across the Internet, throughout the Reds fan base and especially the clubhouse.

"I would think the initial blow of the embarrassment has got to be, without a question, the harshest thing to deal with," Arroyo said. "Just the knock on your character.

"The thing hasn't been resolved yet, and we haven't really gotten 100 percent of what happened, but you still get dragged through the mud and that's the worst part."

He said when people close to you look at you differently - when they "see beneath the mask," as has happened the past few days with Leake - that's "the toughest to deal with. That's why I think he was more comfortable on the mound today than he was standing in this locker room the last couple of days."

And Leake certainly did seem to find respite on the field Thursday. Three days after his arrest, he guided the Reds to what Manager Dusty Baker insisted was "as big a win as we've had since Opening Day."

After a fast start this season, Cincinnati has gone into a full swoon, losing four in a row and six of its last seven.

Leake, who admitted the reaction he received from fans wasn't as bad as he had feared, pitched masterfully, holding the Arizona Diamondbacks to four hits and three runs over seven innings in what would end up a 7-4 Reds victory.

Not only did it stop the slide, but it buoyed the team for an important six-game road trip that begins tonight in St. Louis.

Several of the Reds were unsure how Leake would handle Thursday's challenge, especially Baker:

"I didn't know how he was going to react. I had a hope and a prayer he'd respond. You really don't know, especially when a guy's young like that. Usually, you can look in a person's eyes and read that person at that moment.

"His eyes were gentle eyes - to the point (they showed) pain and embarrassment."

Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips said he talked to Leake before the game:

"I told him, 'Just be yourself out there. We love you. We've got your back. ... You're family. ... Now just go out there with your head up and regardless of what people say, you've just got to man the (expletive) up. Do your job.' "