Chapman struggles in fifth start

Reds’ left-hander hits 100 mph, but unravels in fourth inning

05/03/2010 10:42 PM ET

Buffalo fans applauded after Bisons leadoff batter Jesus Feliciano struck out to begin Monday’s game. Why? Aroldis Chapman’s fastball rung up at an even 100 mph on the ballpark scoreboard.

As dazzling as the young Cuban’s pitches are, he showed again on Monday why there’s still work to be done at Triple-A, giving up six runs over five innings in a rocky fifth Minor League outing.

Chapman breezed through the first three innings before unraveling in the fourth, allowing five runs in the frame. He worked five innings, though, and picked up the win as Louisville pounded Buffalo, 20-7, on a wild, chilly night at Coca-Cola Field.

Chapman’s final line wasn’t pretty: he threw 99 pitches — 65 for strikes — over five frames, striking out eight and allowing six earned runs. He walked a batter and hit another in his fifth outing.

The 22-year-old started off in control, his first four pitches coming in at 97, 98, 99 and 100 mph to retire Feliciano. He then gave himself a 2-0 lead in the second when he sliced an RBI double down the left-field line off Bisons starter Tobi Stoner.

Chapman, who’s batting .750 this season, struck again from the plate when he singled in the third to chase Buffalo reliever Adam Pettyjohn. He ended up making the final out of the frame, though, when he tried to reach third on an error.

He struck out the side in the third and fourth frames, beginning the third by fanning Ruben Tejada with a 97-mph slider. His strikeouts in the fourth were the only bright spots of the frame, however.

The Reds prospect, who signed this offseason for $30 million, struggled at times to get his breaking pitches across for strikes, instead relying more on his blazing fastball. Sitting on his heat, the Bisons finally broke through in the fourth when they batted around and scored five runs to briefly close a 7-0 deficit.

Omir Santos, Tejada, Andy Green and the pitcher Pettyjohn had RBI singles in the inning. Chris Carter raced home when Alex Cintron struck out on a passed ball by catcher Corky Miller.

Chapman returned for the fifth, allowing a one-out single to Carter before third baseman Wilkin Castillo saved a run with a diving stop to his right, robbing Santos of a double down the line. Cintron then lunged at an outside Chapman offering, dunking it into right field for an RBI single for Chapman’s sixth run. He caught Tejada looking to end the inning and his evening.

The Bats’ bats provided plenty of run support, though, collecting 24 hits in the win. Miller homered and drove in five runs, Juan Francisco had four hits and four RBIs, Dan Dorn went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and Zack Cozart scored four times and hit a two-run homer.

Stoner departed after allowing six runs — five earned — on 11 hits in 2 2/3 innings.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.


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