Hanigan's blast backs Chapman's first win

Hanigan's blast backs Chapman's first win

CINCINNATI -- Like Dr. Frankenstein sparking life into the monster in Mary Shelley's classic novel, Aroldis Chapman injected energy into a Cincinnati Reds team rendered virtually lifeless by Milwaukee left-hander Chris Narveson.

The Reds had two hits and no runs in six innings and were losing, 1-0, when Chapman entered the game in the seventh. The much-ballyhooed left-handed Cuban rookie pitched a perfect seventh -- reaching 103 or 104 mph on a couple of pitches, depending on which radar gun you believe -- and the Reds responded by sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring six runs against four Milwaukee hurlers to give Chapman his first career Major League win with a 6-1 victory Wednesday at Great American Ball Park.

Reds manager Dusty Baker could almost see the difference.

"He changed the energy in the ballpark," Baker said. "We weren't dead. [Narveson] just made us look dead. When you're dealing like that, he can make you look like you have no life."

The 22-year-old Chapman wasn't as impressed with himself.

"Their starting pitcher was doing great," he said through interpreter Tomas Vera. "When we got into their bullpen, that's when we started hitting."

Ryan Hanigan's three-run pinch-homer highlighted Cincinnati's seventh inning as the Reds completed their three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Reds moved eight games ahead of second-place St. Louis in the National League Central with their fourth consecutive win and fifth of the six-game home stand. They swept Milwaukee in a three-game series in Cincinnati for the first time since May 6-8, 2002, at Cinergy Field.

Hanigan's fifth homer of the season, the first pinch-homer of his career, was the third of three straight hits off of reliever Todd Coffey. After Narveson walked Ramon Hernandez with one out, the former Cincinnati reliever came out of the bullpen to give up Miguel Cairo's game-tying double before allowing an infield single and Hanigan's blast.

The little crack in the foundation -- Hernandez walk -- was all the Reds needed, said Hanigan, who was happy to help Johnny Cueto avoid a tough loss after the right-hander allowed just five hits and one run in six innings.

"That's this team," Hanigan said. "[Johnny Cueto's] pitching kept us in the game. We were smelling it. Johnny pitched a great game."

Hanigan couldn't remember if he's previously hit a pinch-homer.

"It's hard to remember," he said. "I'm thinking it's possible. I'm not a big home run guy. I feel like I've been driving the ball well."

Chapman faced the minimum three batters for the second straight night in relief of right-hander Cueto. After getting Lorenzo Cain to ground sharply to third baseman Scott Rolen, Chapman struck out Alcides Escobar on an 89 mile per hour breaking ball following a fastball that registered 102 on the outfield radar speed indicator.

He used the same pattern to also get Jonathan Lucroy -- his first victim in his Tuesday debut -- to end the inning. He hit 103 on the radar gun before Milwaukee's rookie catcher swung through an 88 mph breaking ball.

"He comes in and pitches an inning, and it energized the crowd -- everybody," Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said. Chapman threw 11 pitches, nine of them strikes, leaving him with 19 in two nights.

"It's been a big two days for him," Baker said.

"I'm really happy to have my first win," Chapman said. "I'm very proud of it. I didn't come here with any expectations. I just wanted to get here and stay here."

Mark Schmetzer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.