Bronson Arroyo tossed a gem, and the Reds' offense is starting to show signs of emerging from its three-runs-or-fewer malaise.

The result was a rare relatively easy win over a .500-plus team. The Reds downed the Atlanta Braves 4-2 before a crowd of 43,275 at Turner Field. The Reds are 16-27 against teams above .500.

The win allowed the Reds to remain within five games the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central.

"We're getting in a position where we can't afford to lose a lot of games with the guys ahead of us winning," Arroyo said. "Every game right now is huge for us - now to the All-Star Break and coming right back from the All-Star Break. It was a big win."

Arroyo (8-7) went seven innings and allowed one run on three hits. He walked one and struck out three. He threw 90 pitches, 67 strikes. The Braves did not advance a runner to second against him until Brian McCann homered with two outs in the seventh.

"He threw a very good game," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "They had some guys in that lineup who've hit him pretty good, namely Freddie Freeman and McCann."

Devin Mesoraco caught Arroyo for the first time this year because Ryan Hanigan is on the disabled list.

"He did a good job of directing Arroyo through," Baker said.

Arroyo's pitches were working, too.

"I had good stuff tonight for the first time in a while," Arroyo said. "I had a little more zip on the fastball, a little sharper breaking ball, which I haven't had in a while. It's been a grind for me. It helped the lineup was a bit more weighted to the right side."

The Reds have scored 6, 5 and 4 the last three games after scoring 3 or fewer in the 10 of 13 games.