Well, Can’t Win Them All… Reds 5, Dodgers 2

Ardolis Chapman lit up the radar gun in the 9th inning Thursday night in Los Angeles, but did give up a single to Mark Ellis on a fastball that was clocked at 102.6 MPH. (Image source: http://www.voxxi.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Aroldis-Chapman.jpg)

Ardolis Chapman lit up the gun in the 9th inning at Dodger Stadium.

98.  100.  101.  102.  There is no disputing that the 25 year old Cuban lefty brings some heat whenever he takes the mound.

Mark Ellis singled on a fastball that was clocked at 102.6 miles per hour, the fastest pitch put in play for a hit this season.

Still, the Reds closer was able to stifle the Dodgers in the 9th, despite not having his best command, using pure heat, and when Carl Crawford’s sharp 2-out liner found a glove, the Dodgers’ hint at a 9th inning rally ended and the Dodgers dropped their first game since the All Star Break.

Yasiel Puig, who would have represented the potential winning run had Crawford reached safely, was left standing on deck and the chance to see the young Cuban phenom hit against another Cuban who happens to be baseball’s hardest-throwing closer was missed by one out.

Zack Greinke was not sharp, giving up a home run in the first inning to former Dodger Xavier Paul into the right-center field seats.  Paul’s solo blast gave the Reds an early 1-0 lead.

A Todd Frazier double and a Cesar Isturiz single in the top of the 2nd pushed across another run against Greinke, and the Dodger righty looked like he might have one of those nights as he faced a 2-0 deficit after only two innings of work before settling in for the next few innings.

The Dodgers finally drew blood in the 4th inning.  Yasiel Puig lined a sharp single to center field.  Shin-Soo Choo saw Puig take a wide turn around first and fired the ball back toward first base to try to catch Puig napping.  The ball skipped away and into the crowd, resulting in a two base error that put Puig on third.  Adrian Gonzalez grounded out and Puig scored on the play, cutting the Reds lead to 2-1.

Greinke got in more trouble in the top of the sixth.  After issuing a walk to Xavier Paul, he got Joey Votto to ground into a double play, then hit Brandon Phillips with a pitch.  Phillips managed to take second base on a wild pitch, then Jay Bruce deposited a ball over the wall in left-center field to give the Reds a 4-1 lead.

A truly bizarre play occurred in the top of the eighth against J.P. Howell.  With Shin-Soo Choo on first base and one out, Joey Votto lined a single to center fielder Andre Ethier.  Hanley Ramirez and Skip Schumaker decoy’d as if the ball had been caught.  Choo, apparently unaware that the ball had dropped in for a single when he arrived safely at second base, turned around and started running back to first as the middle infielders started to motion for the ball and seemed to indicate that a play could be made on Choo at first base.  Choo actually began to run back to first base, which by this time was safely occupied by Votto.  Ethier relayed the ball in to Ramirez who swooped down as if to make a tag, then came up to tag a clearly confused Choo, who had started to walk back toward second base, for the second out of the inning.

In the bottom of the eighth, Carl Crawford led off with a double, Puig grounded out to move him to third, then Adrian Gonzalez hit a grounder to first that scored Crawford to cut Cincinnati’s lead to 4-2.

Carlos Marmol would have some difficulties getting out of the ninth, and had two line drives hit squarely back at him very hard.  Shin-Shoo Choo drove in a run with a single to center that got into the outfield by way of taking a skip off the second base bag and the Reds led 5-2.

A single by Mark Ellis and a walk by Juan Uribe gave the Dodgers a look at the game against Ardolis Chapman in the 9th inning, but Crawford’s sharp liner to left found the glove of Chris Heisey and the final score was Reds 5, Dodgers 2.

Mat Latos picks up the win, he improves to 10-3.  Zack Greinke takes the loss, his record falls to 8-3.  Ardolis Chapman picked up the save for the Reds, his 24th of the season.

Game two of this four game series will be tonight at Dodger Stadium, a 7:10 p.m. start.  Clayton Kershaw (9-6, 2.01 ERA) takes on Homer Bailey (5-9, 3.84 ERA) in this Friday night matchup of two first place teams.

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