5/21/2013 12:14 A.M. ET
Aroldis bounces back in opener with Mets
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- On the heels of Sunday's heartbreaking walk-off loss to the Phillies, in which he gave up back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the ninth, Aroldis Chapman returned strong vs. the Mets on Monday, earning his ninth save with a perfect ninth that included two strikeouts.
"I'm glad I put Chapman back out there," manager Dusty Baker said. "It's always important. You've got to get back on that horse and ride it right away, or else it festers and grows. You don't want that to happen."
In allowing the homers to Erik Kratz and Freddy Galvis on Sunday, Chapman blew his second straight save after having a one-run lead.
Baker compared the situation with that of May 7, when Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo hit back-to-back homers for a walk-off win over the Braves' elite closer, Craig Kimbrel.
"You know, this is a funny game," Baker said of Chapman before Monday's game. "We're extremely happy when it happens to the other guy. Everybody was super-happy when it happened to Kimbrel. When it happened to us, everybody wants to know what's wrong and are looking for answers. Sometimes there are no answers."
Against the Mets, Chapman worked entirely from the stretch. He threw 11 pitches, and of his eight strikeouts, six were swings and misses. He reached 99 mph four times.
A bizarre story from CBSPhilly.com surfaced early Monday, with a Spanish-language reporter claiming that Chapman was ill during the Phillies game after devouring 18 Cuban pastries filled with cream cheese and guava after receiving them as a gift from the reporter.
Baker dismissed the story, however.
"That has nothing to do with what he did," he said. "Look at him -- does he look fat? I don't pay any attention to that. ... Sometimes that locker room is too open for everybody, which makes it too open for alibis and excuses if something happens."
Pastries or not, Chapman has struggled for much of this month. After having a 0.68 ERA in April, he entered Monday night with a 9.53 ERA in seven appearances with six earned runs, nine hits and six walks.
Cozart remains sidelined with stomach bug
NEW YORK -- Shortstop Zack Cozart was out of the lineup for a second straight day on Monday as he continues to deal with a stomach illness.
Cozart became sick on the team bus following Saturday's game at Philadelphia and was quarantined in the trainer's room during Sunday's series finale. He was feeling much better on Monday and was able to join his teammates in the visitors' clubhouse at Citi Field.
"The doc couldn't say if it was food poisoning or just a little bug. It was awful," Cozart said. "On Saturday night it was bad. I'm off today to get fluids in me as much as possible. I'm sure I'm still dehydrated, even after I drank a lot of water yesterday."
Cozart was disappointed, because he is 4-for-5 lifetime against Mets starter Shaun Marcum.
"I like facing Marcum," he said.
Manager Dusty Baker often gives his players an extra day off, even when they are feeling better, after an injury or illness.
"I really wasn't that surprised," Cozart said.
Cesar Izturis once again started in Cozart's spot.
Soto optioned to Triple-A Louisville
NEW YORK -- As a companion move to activating ace Johnny Cueto from the disabled list to start Monday's game against the Mets, the Reds optioned infielder Neftali Soto to Triple-A Louisville. Soto had been called up for the first time on Saturday and debuted as a defensive replacement that day vs. the Phillies.
In the ninth inning of Sunday's game, Soto pinch-hit for his first big league at-bat and grounded out to third base.
"It was his first taste of the big leagues. He'll be back," manager Dusty Baker said. "His swing has been pretty good."
The Reds' original lineup on Monday had Derrick Robinson in center field and leading off instead of Choo. The lineup was corrected during the afternoon.
"I did the lineup yesterday," Baker said. "I was going to give Choo a day off. I thought [Mets lefty Jonathon] Niese was pitching [on Monday]. He will be off tomorrow."