Pirates rough up Chapman, Reds
By Karen Price
Published: Thursday, June 7, 2012, 10:30 p.m.
CINCINNATI — No one would have predicted Joel Hanrahan blowing a save, Aroldis Chapman allowing his first earned run of the year against the bottom of the Pirates' lineup and Chris Resop pitching perhaps his best inning of the season in a 5-4 Pirates victory Thursday night.
But those were the highlights of a 10-inning nail-biter between the Pirates and Reds in the series finale at Great American Ball Park as the Pirates won their fourth consecutive series and pulled within two games of the NL Central-leading Reds.
“This is probably as satisfying a win as I've had since I've been here,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “A couple things happened that hadn't happened before. … There was good stuff all over the joint tonight.”
The Pirates entered the bottom of the ninth leading, 4-3, and their bullpen had been brilliant after Hurdle pulled starter Kevin Correia after three straight singles to start the sixth.
Rookie Jared Hughes got out of a two-on, no-out jam to end the sixth, and Juan Cruz, Tony Watson and Jason Grilli shut down the Reds through the eighth.
Hanrahan had converted his past 10 save opportunities and had blown one save all year when he came in for the ninth. But Ryan Ludwick, who hit two home runs in 38 games last season with the Pirates, blasted his second of the night to tie the score, 4-4.
Hanrahan hadn't allowed a home run to a right-handed batter since Chris Heisey on Aug. 2, 2010.
The Pirates' closer got out of the inning, and the Reds brought in Chapman and his mind-boggling numbers, chief among them: seven hits and no earned runs allowed all year.
Clint Barmes, with his .188 average, hit a ground-rule double to start the 10th. It was the first hit Chapman had given up since May 17. Michael McKenry, who was batting .185 coming into the game, hit another double, and Barmes scored the winning run.
“You have to get up there and prepare for the 100-mph fastball. You can't think about anything else,” McKenry said of facing Chapman. “If you overthink it, he's going to take full advantage of you.”
Chapman's string of appearances without allowing an earned run ended at a franchise-record 24.
Resop, who had one save in his career, came in for the 10th facing Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce to start. Votto doubled, but Phillips grounded out. Resop intentionally walked Bruce, and Frazier popped out in foul territory.
That brought up Ludwick, and Resop struck him out for the final out.
“It's what we've done all year — we've battled,” Resop said. “How many one-run games have we played? We don't quit. We never have. … It's how games are won, guys picking each other up. Nobody would have bet that Barmes would have doubled off Chapman followed by a double by McKenry. You couldn't have written that. It was a huge win for us.”
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7980.
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