Lucroy belts walk-off to bury Chapman, Reds
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
After being owned by Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman for the last three seasons, the Milwaukee Brewers experienced some hard-earned success Friday night.
Jonathan Lucroy belted a two-run, walk-off home run off the left-handed fireballer to propel the Brewers to a 7-6 victory over their National League Central Division rival in a back-and-forth game at Miller Park.
It was the first career walk-off homer for Lucroy, who finished the night 3 for 5 with three runs batted in and two runs scored.
“It feels good,” Lucroy said. “He has really good stuff, special arm. It just feels good to get the win. We kind of had a rough game throwing the ball. It feels good to get a win hitting-wise.”
Cincinnati went ahead, 6-5, on a two-out RBI single by Todd Frazier in the seventh inning. It was the third baseman’s fourth RBI of the game, and it appeared as if it would hold up with Chapman coming into the game.
He opened by facing Jean Segura, who worked a full count from the big Cuban before hitting a dribbler to shortstop. Zack Cozart charged, fielded it and fired to first, but Joey Votto was unable to hang on and Segura was safe with his major-league-leading 37th infield hit.
That brought Lucroy to the plate. The Brewers catcher was actually the first batter Chapman ever faced in the major leagues in 2010, and Lucroy was 0 for 5 with five strikeouts in his career against him before Friday night.
“He was throwing 105 because he was all excited,” Lucroy recounted. “That wasn’t cool.”
Chapman fell behind, 1-0, before Lucroy fouled off the next five offerings — all fastballs, the last three of which were clocked at 99 mph.
On the seventh pitch Chapman hung a slider that Lucroy jumped all over, sending it into the bleachers in left field for his 17th homer. The shot sparked a furious celebration on the field and among what remained of the 33,037 who were in attendance.
“He has to get ahead with his fastball and try and bury his slider,” Lucroy said. “That’s what he was trying to do, I’m sure. He’s struck me out there before on a backdoor slider. That one just hung up.”
Manager Ron Roenicke said being aggressive is the key to having any sort of success against Chapman, who was charged with his fifth blown save of the season.
He’s tied for fourth in the NL with 30 saves and was 3-0 lifetime with a 0.43 earned-run average and six saves in 21 career games against the Brewers coming in.
“He’s a tough one,” Roenicke said. “You can’t be defensive because he throws too hard. So you have to really be aggressive with him to try to make sure you can get around on that fastball. Great job of fouling off some tough pitches, and he left a slider up for him.
“What a great at-bat. Great at-bat by ‘Seggy’ to get on base. You don’t expect to win when (Chapman) is coming into the ballgame.”
It was the Brewers’ second walk-off homer of the season; Caleb Gindl hit the other in the 13th inning in a 1-0 victory over Miami on July 21.
Juan Francisco got the Brewers onto the board with a solo homer in the second inning, while an RBI single by Lucroy and a two-run double by Khris Davis gave Milwaukee a 4-2 lead after three.
The Reds scored three times over the next two innings — all off starter Tom Gorzelanny — before an RBI single by Segura tied the game at 5-5 in the sixth.
Milwaukee snapped Cincinnati’s five-game winning streak.