DENVER (AP) – Aroldis Chapman walked to the mound with a four-run lead, and the All-Star closer left the field with the Cincinnati Reds on their way to a heartbreaking loss.
Chapman walked each of his four batters and J.J. Hoover yielded Drew Stubbs’ three-run homer, capping Colorado’s five-run ninth in Sunday’s 10-9 victory in the first game of a doubleheader.
“I don’t think I can put it into words to be honest with you,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “The fact that (I’ve got to talk about it) right now is very difficult. We’re six minutes removed from the game being over.
“I’m not angry at anybody, but it’s a difficult loss to take.”
The Reds carried a 9-5 lead into the ninth, but Chapman walked four straight before he was replaced by Hoover. Pinch-hitter Wilin Rosario then hit a sacrifice fly to trim Cincinnati’s lead to two.
After Charlie Blackmon flied out, Stubbs drove a 1-0 pitch from Hoover (1-9) into the seats in left for his 12th homer. It was Stubbs’ third career game-ending homer and first with the Rockies.
It was a rare bad outing for Chapman, who had made eight consecutive scoreless appearances. He was warming up in the top of the ninth when his team scored a pair of runs to take away a save chance.
Price opted to use the left-hander anyway.
“I’m not a firm believer that closers only come in save situations,” Price said. “The way the ballpark plays. We had him hot already.”
Rex Brothers (4-5) picked up the victory despite allowing a pair of runs in the top of the ninth. Nolan Arenado tied a career high with four hits for Colorado, and also had a leadoff walk in the ninth.
Stubbs finished with three hits against his first major league team, and then was doused with ice water by a teammate during an on-field interview after the game.
Dylan Axelrod, making his Reds debut, was scheduled to start the nightcap against Yohan Flande, who was looking for his first major league win.
The doubleheader was set up by Saturday night’s water main break outside Coors Field that left the ballpark without running water and forced the game to be pushed back one day. The water main was repaired by city crews overnight.
Jay Bruce and Kris Negron homered for the Reds, who fell to 10-18 since the All-Star break.
Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson also went deep for the Rockies.
The Rockies’ Michael Cuddyer, who won the NL batting title last season, went 1 for 5 in his return from a left shoulder fracture. He was injured June 5 against Arizona when he dove for a sharply hit grounder while playing third base.
A brief thunder shower prompted a 21-minute rain delay in the first.
Negron followed his four-hit performance Friday with his fourth home run of the season. Bruce had three hits and three RBIs.
Reds: 2B Brandon Phillips (torn left thumb ligament) continued his minor league rehab stint with Class A Dayton on Sunday at Bowling Green. Phillips began the assignment Friday at Triple-A Louisville, going 0 for 2 with a walk against Indianapolis.
Reds: RHP Mike Leake (9-11) is slated to pitch Monday’s series opener at St. Louis, where Cincinnati has gone 1-10 in its last 11 series.
The game was played with balls embossed with the No. 17 in recognition of Todd Helton, who wore that number during a stellar Colorado career and saw it retired during a pregame ceremony. He’s the first player in the team’s history to have his number retired.