CINCINNATI -- Aroldis Chapman's seventh start for Triple-A Louisville against Rochester was a short night.

Chapman was roughed up for eight runs on nine hits and three walks over only 3 1/3 innings while striking out five. His undoing was six runs allowed during an eight-run Rochester top of the fourth inning.

Following Trevor Plouffe's three-run home run with one out in the fourth, Chapman left the game with the Bats trailing, 8-2. Of the 75 pitches he threw, 42 were strikes.

The outing sent Chapman's ERA from 2.84 to 4.63. Overall, he has allowed 18 earned runs, 36 hits and 21 walks while notching 41 strikeouts over 35 1/3 innings. In three May starts, the 22-year-old Cuban lefty has a 9.42 ERA.

Cabrera thriving in leadoff spot for Reds

CINCINNATI -- The makeup of a lineup can be one of the more over-analyzed issues in big league baseball, but one adjustment in the Reds order has seemed to click.

While it's a short sample size, shortstop Orlando Cabrera has succeeded since moving to the leadoff spot -- and the Reds have succeeded since Cabrera went there.

Entering Friday, Cabrera was batting .304 (7-for-23) with a .333 on-base percentage in five games as the leadoff man. The Reds were 4-1 in those games and had won five straight overall. The 35-year-old, who also came in with a six-game hitting streak, discounted the role he's played lately.

"I haven't even thought about it," Cabrera said. "I think we're just playing pretty good baseball overall. The kids seem more focused on winning than anything else. Hopefully we can all stay on track to just do that, even though it's really early in the season."

Cabrera and his .299 on-base percentage this season -- and .321 for his career -- doesn't fit the usual leadoff mode. Then again, the Reds lineup isn't typical since it not only lacks a quintessential leadoff hitter, but also a stereotypical cleanup hitter, too.

"There are a lot of guys on this team that are versatile and able to move in the order," Cabrera said. "It's been working out. Hopefully it stays like that and we have a good home stand."

As for liking his time in the No. 1 hole?

"I don't particularly care as long as it's for a purpose," Cabrera said.

Cards series a good test for Reds

CINCINNATI -- Even if Friday's series opener vs. the National League Central-leading Cardinals was the Reds' 35th game of the season, manager Dusty Baker didn't discount its importance. Among other things, first place was on the line since Cincinnati came in a half-game back.

"It's never too early when you're facing somebody in your division, especially a perennial-type foe that's usually near the top somewhere," Baker said. "You figure it's three less games you're going to play them at some point in time, whether you're trying to pad the lead or cut the lead.

"This is a good test for us. It's a good test for our young players to be in a pressure situation. It's an invaluable learning experience to be in a pennant race."

Worth noting

One of the Reds' top prospects, left fielder/first baseman Yonder Alonso, was promoted from Double-A Carolina to Triple-A Louisville on Thursday. In 31 games with Carolina, Alonso batted .267 with three homers and 13 RBIs. He was needed in Louisville when Danny Dorn went on the disabled list with a fractured left hand.

The Reds entered Friday leading the National League with a .988 fielding percentage and were without an error in a season-high eight straight games, which pleased Baker.

"That's the work part of this game," Baker said of defense. "Hitting is the fun part. You go to Little League practice, how many kids go home after they hit? It's not much different [here]. That's saying basically you're catching what you get to. It doesn't tell sometimes that you don't. That's the misleading part of fielding percentage."