The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Luis Castillo allowed just a lone earned run and and only 3 hits through his first 6 IP, with an impressive 8 Ks against nary a walk, which is precisely the kind of outing you’d love to see from any starter, any time.
Despite sitting just shy of 100 pitches after 6 IP, Jim Riggleman opted to see if Castillo could get a bit deeper into the game, and though that backfired a bit - Castillo allowed a dinger and a single to a runner that would eventually score as an unearned run - the fact is that the ace-in-waiting of the Cincinnati Reds staff had yet another incredibly solid outing. That makes three of those in a row for Castillo, who has rounded back into the form that made him such a tantalizing arm to dream on in his 2017 rookie season.
His final line: 6+ IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 8 K on 103 pitches. Welcome back, Luis.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Eugenio Suarez, who dingered, singled, walked, and drove in a pair; Amir Garrett, who pitched 1.2 dominant innings of relief (4 Ks, no baserunners); Joey Votto, who walked twice, stole a bag, and clubbed a 2-run dinger; Billy Hamilton, who singled twice, walked, scored, and swiped 3 (!) bags; and Alex Blandino, who singled twice, scored twice, and plated a run on a beautiful squeeze play; and Raisel Iglesias, who locked down the save for the series sweep.
- The Reds finally dented the scoreboard in the Top of the 3rd, and that came when Suarez bonked his 2-run dinger off lefty Rich Hill. Blandino scored on the play, as he had earlier reached on a booted grounder at 1B by Cody Bellinger, and the Reds led, 2-0.
- Yasiel Puig pulled a run back for the Dodgers in the Bottom of the 3rd, however, as he hit a solo homer just over the wall in LF - his first dinger of the season. Reds led, 2-1.
- The Reds small-balled their way to another run in the Top of the 4th. Billy singled to begin the rally, and he moved up to 3B on a single into left-center by Jose Peraza. That set up Blandino for a squeeze bunt, which he executed to perfection to bring Billy home. Reds led, 3-1.
- The Reds added another pair of runs in the Top of the 6th once Hill exited (we think due to blisters). Pat Venditte took over, and after the switch-pitcher allowed a single to Blandino while pitching righty, he hung a lefty curve in Votto’s hot zone that was deposited into the RF seats for a 2-run blast. Reds led, 5-1.
- Castillo was sent out for the Bottom of the 7th despite sitting just a handful of pitches shy of 100 on the day, and Yasmani Grandal greeted him with a solo dinger over the RF wall as the first batter of the inning. Castillo then allowed a single to Cody Bellinger before getting pulled in favor of Austin Brice, and Bellinger eventually scored after a Peraza throwing error and productive groundout. Reds led, 5-3.
- After that, Garrett and Iglesias combined to lock things down, and the Reds won, 5-3!
- Cincinnati loaded the bases in the Top of the 1st with just a lone out, but an Adam Duvall K and a slow groundout by Scott Schebler kept them from capitalizing early.
- The four-game sweep of the Dodgers was the first of its kind since the glory days of 1976.
- The Reds will head north to San Francisco later this evening, and on Monday they’ll begin a three-game series against the Giants. Sal Romano will start the series opener, and he’ll be opposed by Giants starter Chris Stratton. First pitch is set for 10:15 PM ET.
- Fun baseball is fun again, isn’t it?