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With game on line, Chapman impresses

With game on line, Chapman impresses

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With game on line, Chapman impresses
MILWAUKEE -- There was no doubt about it. Aroldis Chapman gave the Reds his best outing as a Major Leaguer in a big moment on Wednesday.

Chapman received the victory in the Reds' 7-6 win over the Brewers in 10 innings. He couldn't have done more to earn it. The Cuban left-hander pitched 1 2/3 tough innings and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth that saved the day.

Of the 19 pitches Chapman threw, 17 were strikes.

"I keep saying it and I'm going to say it again, that's just unbelievable," Reds closer Francisco Cordero said of Chapman. "I'm real glad that I'm here and get to see that and enjoy it."

The Brewers put runners on the corners in the eighth against Logan Ondrusek when manager Dusty Baker went somewhat against the grain and summoned Chapman to face a right-handed batter in Rickie Weeks.

"If a guy can pitch, it doesn't matter if he faces right or left," Baker said. "Sparky Lyle was left-handed. Dave Righetti was left-handed. B.J. Ryan was left-handed. It doesn't matter if a guy has good stuff."

Two pitches into the Weeks at-bat, Chapman hit him with a 98-mph fastball to load the bases and gave Milwaukee a chance to take the game.

"It's tough, but you know that if you put it in play, anything can happen," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Obviously, that's why they brought him in, because they needed strikeouts at the time. Once he hit Rickie, I felt pretty good, and then all of a sudden he was throwing strikes."

Against Carlos Gomez, Chapman threw five-straight strikes of 99 mph or faster and got four fouls. Next came a nasty 88-mph slider that crossed up Gomez as he swung and missed. The Brewers' best hitter, Ryan Braun, saw three pitches of 99, 101 and 98 mph before he grounded another 101-mph fastball for a routine groundout to third base.

Chapman returned for the ninth and got Prince Fielder looking at strike three on a 99-mph fastball. Casey McGehee flied out to right field. Corey Hart followed with a single to right field, but was picked off of first base to end the inning and force extras.

Baker was asked if it indeed was Chapman's finest performance to date.

"Yeah, he went two innings, which he usually doesn't go," Baker said. "Fortunately for us, he was throwing quality strikes and getting quality hitters out. You never want to face Rickie Weeks. You're not in a hurry to face Prince. You're not in a hurry to face -- certainly with the bases loaded -- Ryan Braun. And with their clutch man, McGehee, they have some guys that can hit and hit in the clutch."

Through 12 games this season, Chapman is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA -- after 11 2/3 scoreless innings. He has walked eight and struck out 12. His velocity remained high on Wednesday because he only threw three pitches in Tuesday's loss.

"I'm also glad that we're off tomorrow. He's going to need that time off," Baker said.

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