By HAL McCOY
So now the Cincinnati Reds know how it feels and it wasn’t a fun feeling. It was bone-chilling.
For the first time since they traded Aroldis Chapman, they had to face the Cuban Missile Monday night in revved-up Wrigley Field.
And Chapman was, indeed, the most revved-up human being in Chicagoland when he faced the Reds in the bottom of the ninth.
The Missile blew ‘em up.
CHAPMAN WAS AMPED, EVEN more than usual. He needed 23 pitches to put the lid on a 5-2 Chicago Cubs victory for his 35th save this season. And nearly every pitch was over 100 miles an hour, most between 102 and 104.
He threw a 104 miles an hour pitch to Brandon Phillips, who battled him for eight pitches before tapping back to the mound.
He threw one 104 to Tucker Barnhart before striking him out to end the game with a 103 miles an hour fastball. His last four pitches to Barnhart were 103, 103, 104 and 103.
THAT DRAMA NEARLY ERASED a nifty night by Cincinnati Reds starter Tim Adleman.
For six innings Adleman had the Cubs eating out of his hand, a hand that three years ago was bagging groceries in Medford, Mass.
He held the Cubs to no runs and three hits for six innings, walking none and striking out five. Meanwhile, he was protecting a 2-0 lead.
When Hammel gave up a home run to Brandon Phillips leading off the second inning it was the first run the Reds scored off Cubs starter Jason Hammel in 18 innings. He had made three straight starts against the Reds without giving up a run.
THEN CAME THE SEVENTH INNING and the game did a 180-degree turnaround.
Addison Russell led the Cubs seventh with a home run deep into the left field seats. One out later Willson Contreras vacated Wrigley Field with a home run that landed beyond the bleachers on Waveland Avenue to tie it, 2-2.
The Contreras home run was the 241st given up by Reds pitchers this season, tying the major league record.
In the Cubs dugout you could just sense that they were saying throughout Adleman’s night, “Just stay close until we get into their bullpen.”
That’s exactly what happened. After the Contreras home run tied it, manager Bryan Price went to the bullpen and brought in Blake Wood.
Chris Coghlan promptly doubled and with two outs Dexter Fowler singled to center to push the Cubs ahead, 3-2.
The Cubs added two in the bottom of the eighth against Wood with two outs and nobody on. Addison Russell doubled to left and Jason Heyward homered into the center field bleachers.
THAT MADE IT 5-2 AND the Reds now own the all-time record for home runs given up in a season with 242.
The Reds scored a run in the second off Hammel on a home run by Brandon Phillips, his first home run in Wrigley Field since 2013.
THEY RECEIVED A GIFT run in the sixth. Hernan Iribarren lined one to center that Jason Heyward misplayed into a triple, Iribarren’s third triple since his arrival from Louisville two weeks ago.
With the infield drawn in, Joey Votto blooped one to shallow center that fell in for a run and a 2-0 lead. Votto had two hits and is hitting .321 after hitting .210 the first two months of the season.
Hammel was 14-9 when the game began and 9-1 this season in Wrigley. He left the game after the top of the seventh, trailing 2-0. But when the Cubs took the 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh and held on Hammel became 15-9 and 10-1 in Wrigley.