- 142 wins
- 110 wins
CLEVELAND -- Aroldis Chapman has stood out from the rest because of his triple-digit velocity. But in one respect, he's just like any other closer.
Fall behind in the count, and you pay. The Reds certainly did on Tuesday night.
Chapman gave up a two-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera in the bottom of the 10th inning for a crushing 3-2 walk-off loss to the Indians.
"When you're down in the count, you have to make a pitch in the middle, and he hit a home run," Chapman said via translator.
Cincinnati took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 10th inning, when Chris Heisey scored on a wild pitch by left-hander Nick Hagadone, and had it all set up for Chapman to close it out. With one out, Shin-Soo Choo lined a single to right-center field to apply the pressure.
A switch-hitter batting from the right side, Cabrera drove a 3-1, 94-mph pitch into the right-field seats to end the game. After the ball cleared the fence, Chapman stood near the mound for some extra moments as his teammates walked off the field in defeat.
"The pitches were not where I wanted and the speed wasn't there, but I feel good," Chapman said. "It's just another game. What happened, happened. All you have to do is just wait for the next day."
It gave the first-place Reds back-to-back losses and shrunk their lead over the Pirates to 2 1/2 games in the National League Central.
"The game goes from jubilation to just a downer in one swing," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "[Chapman] got behind Choo, 3-1, and got behind Cabrera, 3-1. They're sitting on a straight fastball. He didn't miss it. That's a tough one to lose."
After beginning the season with 24 straight appearances without an earned run, the past 12 days haven't been sparkling for the left-handed Chapman. He's allowed at least one run in four of his last six appearances, sending his ERA from 0.00 to 1.57. He's suffered all three of his losses in that stretch, with two blown saves.
"The guy is human. What he was doing earlier in the year was just un-human," Baker said. "This guy [Cabrera] is an All-Star and can hit. He's equally tough on the right side as he is on the left side. When they do catch up with Chapman's ball, he's supplying most of the power. If they catch up to it and center it, sometimes that's going to happen."
It was the second homer Chapman has allowed in a week, with the other coming in Cincinnati from Cleveland's Jose Lopez on Wednesday.
"There's no one in the game [against whom] you should just pick up the bats and helmets and go away," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "You look at the percentages of a team coming back, even down by one run in the ninth against a closer, it's not very high. And [it's] a guy like him who's been very dominant. But we felt that, 'Hey, we have the right guys up. Let's give it a fight.'"
Lost in the shuffle were two strong pitching performances by Reds starter Mike Leake and reliever Sean Marshall. While tying a career high with 114 pitches, Leake was solid for seven innings, giving up one run on six hits, with one walk and four strikeouts.
"He gave us a great outing," Baker said. "That's the most pitches he's ever thrown since he's been here, and it's a sign of how he's working. He was throwing just as good in the seventh as he was in the first."
Leake had runners in scoring position in each of his first four innings, but no damage came until the fourth -- with Cleveland going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position in the game. Carlos Santana lined a double into right field and scored from third base on a Casey Kotchman one-out single to center field. Leake would retire his final 11 batters in a row, however.
"Other than [Santana], I worked out of guys on second base a couple of times," Leake said. "I was just happy I was able to make the pitch."
Marshall survived leadoff singles in his scoreless eighth and ninth innings.
The Reds, who were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, jumped out to a 1-0 first-inning lead against Josh Tomlin after Zack Cozart began the game with a double. A wild pitch moved Cozart to third base, and he scored on an infield single to the hole by Heisey.
Aided by a pair of double plays, Cleveland kept the Reds off the scoreboard until the 10th. There were two outs with runners on the corners when Brandon Phillips swung and missed at Hagadone's 0-1 pitch in the dirt. The ball skipped off of Santana's chest and rolled behind the plate. Heisey scored with a headfirst slide ahead of Santana's throw to Hagadone at the dish.
"It didn't matter how you got the run across. What mattered is you got the run," Baker said.
The rest was up to Chapman, who not only didn't come through, he failed to record a strikeout for the first time this season. Chapman had at least one strikeout in each of his last 34 games going back to 2011. It was the third-longest streak since 1918.