|Cincinnati (55-42) «||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||x||5||10||3|
"Anxiety," he said.
And, with a few 100-mph fastballs, Aroldis Chapman turned the anxiety into instantaneous joy.
Chapman escaped a two-on, none-out threat on Saturday, preserving a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that began with a long rain delay and ended with some overpowering pitching by the Reds' All-Star closer.
"He has the kind of electric fastball where he can strike himself out of trouble," manager Dusty Baker said. "That's not the first time he's been in trouble. There's been times he's walked himself into trouble, but he can strike himself out of trouble.
"There's not a lot of guys who can do that."
The third-place Reds have won the first two games in the NL Central series, closing their gap with second-place Pittsburgh to two games. The Ohio River rivals have split their 12 games this season.
Latos (9-3) and Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett (4-7) had a tough time finding their control after a 1-hour, 17-minute delay in the middle of the first inning.
"It was a challenge," Latos said. "That's something I've never experienced before, and I don't want to do it again."
Latos gave up three runs in only five innings. Travis Snider's pinch-hit RBI double cut it to 5-4 in the eighth, but Logan Ondrusek got Jose Tabata to ground out with the bases loaded, ending the rally.
Chapman gave up an infield single by Andrew McCutchen to open the ninth and made a wild pickoff throw. Shortstop Zack Cozart misplayed Pedro Alvarez's grounder for Cincinnati's third error, leaving runners on first and third.
"He was able to minimize the damage," catcher Devin Mesoraco said. "It was cool to see him go out and keep his cool and go after guys. It was definitely a fun thing to see."
Choo had a double and a single, extending the longest streak by a Reds player this season.
Thirteen minutes after the first pitch, the umpires called for the tarp when a gust of wind blew through Great American Ball Park with Burnett warming up. Several members of the grounds crew were blown off their feet while wrestling the tarp into place.
Burnett had a rough time getting re-started, allowing four runs right away.
"We all have our routines," Burnett said. "That was nowhere close to my routine."
Three of the runs were set up by Mercer's fielding error at second base. Votto got his 500th career RBI on the error, Brandon Phillips singled home a run, Cozart hit a sacrifice fly and Mesoraco doubled for a 4-0 lead.
"You don't know what the layoff did to his routine," Mesoraco said. "I'm not saying it was all luck, but a couple of hits fell in, too."
Latos struck out to end the nine-batter inning -- an hour and a half after he'd thrown his last pitch. Then, just like Burnett, Latos struggled to find his touch. Garrett Jones homered and Cozart's errant throw at shortstop let in a run in the second.
McCutchen hit a solo homer in the fourth, his third homer in his last four games. Eleven of his 12 homers have been solos. The Pirates have five homers in the first two games of the series, all solo shots.
Burnett didn't allow another run until the sixth, when he walked Votto with the bases loaded on his 109th and final pitch.
|Shin-Soo Choo extends his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games as the Reds knock off the Pirates. (USATSI)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Starling Marte, LF||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.290|
|Jose Tabata, RF||4||0||0||0||1||0||3||.277|
|Andrew McCutchen, CF||5||1||4||1||0||1||2||.310|
|Pedro Alvarez, 3B||5||0||0||0||0||1||2||.243|
|Russell Martin, C||5||0||0||0||0||0||4||.239|
|Garrett Jones, 1B||3||1||1||1||1||0||0||.258|
|a-Michael McKenry, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.178|
|Jordy Mercer, 2B-SS||5||1||2||0||0||2||2||.261|
|Clint Barmes, SS||2||1||0||0||1||1||0||.219|
|b-Travis Snider, PH||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.232|
|A.J. Burnett, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||3||.094|
|a-struck out for G. Jones in the 9th|
|b-doubled for Barmes in the 8th|
|c-walked for Gomez in the 8th|
|2B - Andrew McCutchen (27, LeCure), Jordy Mercer (9, Latos), Travis Snider (12, Simon)|
|HR - Andrew McCutchen (12, Latos), Garrett Jones (9, Latos)|
|SH - A.J. Burnett (5)|
|RBI - Andrew McCutchen (51), Garrett Jones (36), Travis Snider (23)|
|2-OUT RBI - Andrew McCutchen (14), Travis Snider (11)|
|Team LOB - 12|
|DP - Martin-Barmes|
|E - Jordy Mercer (8, Misplayed grounder)|
|A.J. Burnett (L,4-7)||5.2||10||5||2||2||8||0||3.07|
|HBP - Hannahan (by A.J. Burnett)|
|Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Burnett 109-74, Jeanmar Gomez 23-15, Mark Melancon 10-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Burnett 6-3, Mark Melancon 1-1|
|Batters Faced - A.J. Burnett 30, Jeanmar Gomez 5, Mark Melancon 3|
|Shin-Soo Choo, CF||5||1||2||0||0||1||3||.289|
|Chris Heisey, LF||4||1||1||0||1||0||1||.229|
|Joey Votto, 1B||3||1||1||2||1||1||1||.319|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||4||1||2||1||0||2||3||.269|
|Jay Bruce, RF||4||0||0||0||0||3||3||.271|
|Jack Hannahan, 3B||2||0||0||0||1||1||2||.215|
|Zack Cozart, SS||3||1||2||1||0||1||1||.237|
|Devin Mesoraco, C||4||0||1||1||0||1||3||.242|
|Mat Latos, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||3||.136|
|a-Cesar Izturis, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.217|
|b-Derrick Robinson, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.254|
|a-singled for Hoover in the 6th|
|b-struck out for Ondrusek in the 8th|
|2B - Shin-Soo Choo (23, Burnett), Zack Cozart (22, Burnett), Devin Mesoraco (9, Burnett)|
|SF - Zack Cozart (8)|
|RBI - Joey Votto 2 (44), Brandon Phillips (78), Zack Cozart (34), Devin Mesoraco (21)|
|2-OUT RBI - Joey Votto (11), Devin Mesoraco (7)|
|CS - Shin-Soo Choo (7, 2nd base by Burnett/Martin)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Outfield Assists - Jay Bruce 1|
|E - Aroldis Chapman (1, Throwing), Zack Cozart 2 (10, Throwing)|
|Mat Latos (W,9-3)||5||4||3||2||4||5||2||3.53|
|J.J. Hoover (H,4)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||3.60|
|Sam LeCure (H,14)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||2.13|
|Alfredo Simon (H,5)||0.2||2||1||1||1||0||0||3.02|
|Logan Ondrusek (H,6)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||4.40|
|Aroldis Chapman (S,23)||1||1||0||0||0||2||0||2.66|
|IBB - Barmes by Mat Latos|
|WP - Mat Latos (8)|
|HBP - Marte (by Alfredo Simon)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mat Latos 99-59, J.J. Hoover 15-11, Sam LeCure 10-8, Alfredo Simon 24-14, Logan Ondrusek 4-2, Aroldis Chapman 17-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mat Latos 6-6, Sam LeCure 1-1, Alfredo Simon 2-0, Logan Ondrusek 1-0, Aroldis Chapman 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Mat Latos 25, J.J. Hoover 3, Sam LeCure 3, Alfredo Simon 6, Logan Ondrusek 1, Aroldis Chapman 5|
|Attendance - 34728|
|Game Time - 3:38|
|Temperature - 89|
|Umpires - Home - John Hirschbeck, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Bob Davidson, Third Base - Jim Reynolds|