Chapman, Frazier help Reds end skid

Published 10:48 am Sunday, August 12, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) — Aroldis Chapman is making pitching look easy.

Chapman came out of the bullpen to stop an eighth-inning rally attempt, rookie Todd Frazier doubled twice and drove in four runs and the Cincinnati Reds beat the sloppy Chicago Cubs 10-8 Friday to end their season-high losing streak at five games.

Chapman entered with two outs and a man on third in the eighth after the Cubs had closed to 9-8, and he struck out Anthony Rizzo to preserve a one-run lead.

Email newsletter signup

He breezed through the heart of the Cubs batting order in the ninth for his 26th save in 30 chances and 18th in a row.

Chapman has a 0.18 ERA against NL clubs this season and hasn’t allowed a run to a league rival since June 7 against Pittsburgh.

“He’s been a team lifesaver for us,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “The one thing guys out there are learning is you’re in first place, everybody plays their hardest and their best against you.”

“You can’t overlook anybody because they’re gunning for you.”

Chapman hadn’t pitched more than an inning since May 27, but was as dominant as he has been all season.

“Whenever he comes in we’re in a relaxed state,” Frazier said. “You know he’s going to throw that fire. … It’s nice to see him come in and work his magic.”

Ryan Ludwick hit a two-run homer into a 24 mph wind in the third against Justin Germano (1-2) as the NL Central leaders built a 5-1 lead. Ludwick also doubled, walked and matched his career best with four runs.

Homer Bailey (10-7) won for the first time in four starts since July 20, allowing four runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings. He set his career high for wins, topping last year’s nine.

“I’m glad we won the victory for him, because he’s won some tough ones this year, just like that,” Baker said.

Chicago lost for the ninth time in 10 games and made five errors — by five players — that led to two unearned runs.

It was the Cubs’ sloppiest game in the field since they made six errors in a 9-8 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 12, 2006, according to STATS LLC.

Germano gave up six runs — four earned — and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. Catcher Welington Castillo, shortstop Starlin Castro, center fielder Brett Jackson, first baseman Rizzo and third baseman Josh Vitters made errors. All three Cubs rookies in the starting lineup had errors.

“Not the prettiest game we’ve played all year, that’s for sure,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “I don’t attribute it to anything. We’ve played pretty good defense all season long. Sometimes those things happen.”

Alfonso Soriano, who drove in three runs, put the Cubs ahead with an RBI grounder in the first. Frazier, second among big league rookies with 15 homers and 47 RBIs, tied it with an RBI double in the second and scored on Bailey’s single to put the Reds ahead for good.

Ludwick’s homer made it 4-1 in the third and gave him 24 RBIs since 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto got hurt his left knee on July 15. The Reds, who stopped a four-game road skid, tacked on another run on three errors, the last a routine roller that went under the glove of Castro.

“Not a good day for the defense today,” Castro said. “The offense was very good today, but you can’t win the game like that, with good offense and no defense.”

Drew Stubbs reached on an infield single with two outs in the sixth and stole second, with Castillo’s throw skipping into center field. The ball also eluded Jackson as Stubbs came around to score.

Castro was thrown out at third base in the sixth after losing track of Vitters’ single to right. Castro was booed when he batted in the seventh, then hit a two-run double.

Castillo had a pair of RBI hits — the latter a double in the seventh that came two pitches after his popup into the middle of the infield was blown into the first-base stands.

The crazy conditions reminded Baker of some of his days managing the Cubs, as well as the Giants at Candlestick Park.

“Ball was doing the Salsa, Merengue, La Cucaracha out there … everything,” Baker said. “That was a rough day out there.”

NOTES: Baker sat slumping outfielder Jay Bruce, who is hitless in his last 12 at-bats with seven strikeouts. Baker said Bruce’s slump is “like being in quicksand.” Xavier Paul started for Bruce. … Reds 3B Scott Rolen was held out of the lineup for a third straight game due to a sore back. … Soriano has driven in 15 runs in his last 16 games at Wrigley Field.