A huge error by Joey Votto in game two of the double header cost the Cincinnati Reds (17-22) both the game and a sweep against the Pittsburgh Pirates (12-25) on Friday evening.

Game 1 Recap: Castillo picks up his first win

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (17-21) 4 7 1
Pittsburgh Pirates (11-25)
2 8 1
W: Castillo (1-5) L: Brault (0-2) SV: Iglesias (5)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Reds grabbed an early lead and never looked back, though things got dicey more than a few times with Luis Castillo on the mound – he clamped down when all of the chips were on the table and got through the jams.

The Offense

The Reds got things going in the 2nd inning with two outs. Aristides Aquino walked and moved up to second on an error. Jose Garcia picked up his first career RBI with a single into left to give Cincinnati a 1-0 lead. They would play add on the next inning after Joey Votto and Nick Castellanos led off the inning with singles. Votto scored on an Eugenio Suárez sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. Castellanos scored on a Jesse Winker blooper that fell between the center fielder and second baseman to extend the lead to 3-0. In the top of the 5th inning Nick Castellanos gave Luis Castillo some breathing room with a solo home run to make it a 4-2 game. That was the final time the Reds would score in the game.

The Pitching

Luis Castillo had a clean 1st inning, but things weren’t as easy in the 2nd. A single led off the inning and it was followed up with a double off of the glove of Nick Castellanos, who badly misread the ball off of the bat put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. But Castillo worked out of the jam by getting a shallow fly out to left, a ground ball that led to a force out to cut down the runner at third, and a ground out to end the inning.

The 3rd inning didn’t turn out as well as the previous one did. Handed a 3-0 lead to work with, Castillo gave up a 1-out double, a 2-out walk and then an RBI single that made it 3-1. The Reds and Castillo caught a break, if you can call it that, when Gregory Polanco’s ground-rule double made it over the fence – likely preventing more than one run from scoring on the play and keeping it a 3-2 game. Josh Bell struck out to end the inning with the Reds barely holding onto their lead.

Much like the previous two innings, Luis Castillo ran into a jam. He allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning, but he then clamped down and struck out Jacob Stallings and induced an inning-ending double play from Erik Gonzalez. Castillo would cruise through the next two innings before handing the game over to Raisel Iglesias for the 7th and final inning if he could hold onto the lead.

A leadoff single put the tying run at the plate. Iglesias got a come backer from Erik Gonzalez and fielded it and fired to second base where Kyle Farmer stepped on the bag and then fired the ball to first. Unfortunately the ball went by Joey Votto and into the dugout, placing Gonzalez at second base on a ball that Votto should have caught. Kevin Newman lined out to center for the second out of the inning. Iglesias struck out Bryan Reynolds to seal the win of the first game.

Game 2 Recap: Costly error leads to a loss

Final R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates (12-25)
4 6 0
Cincinnati Reds (17-22)
3 4 1
W: Howard (2-1) L: Bauer (3-3) SV: Rodriguez (3)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

A huge error by Joey Votto in the 4th inning led to three unearned runs against Trevor Bauer and ultimately was the difference between a sweep on Friday and a split in a double header that felt like a must-win series.

The Offense

Joey Votto led off with a walk and he came around to score on an Eugenio Suárez 2-run homer with two outs in the inning, giving the Reds a 2-0 lead early on. The Reds wouldn’t score again until the bottom of the 4th when Mike Moustakas hit a laser into the right field stands to tie the game up at 3-3. The Reds offense went quietly in the 5th inning, trailing 4-3. Suárez walked with two outs in the 6th inning to bring up Moustakas, prompting the Pirates to go to their bullpen to bring in left-handed reliever Nik Turley. The match up didn’t work at first as Moustakas lined a single into left field as Suárez raced to third. David Bell then pinch hit for Brian Goodwin, a left-handed hitter, bringing in Matt Davidson to see if he had some magic left in that left-handed pitching killer bat. He didn’t, striking out swinging and stranding the runners.

Trailing 4-3 and entering the bottom of the 7th, the Reds had three outs to work with to try and scratch at least one run across the plate. Shogo Akiyama led off the inning against new Pirates reliever Richard Rodriguez, but he flew out to start the frame. Jose Garcia grounded out to the pitcher for the second out of the inning. Tucker Barnhart popped out to the shortstop to end the game.

The Pitching

Trevor Bauer was cruising along until the top of the 4th inning. For the second time on the day a Joey Votto missed catch at first base would put a runner on – this time to lead off the inning. Bauer retired the next two hitters, but then Ke’Bryan Hayes singled and Anthony Alford tripled to tie the game up at 2-2. A wild pitch then brought in Alford to put the Pirates ahead.

The Reds offense got a run back in the bottom of the inning to tie things up for when Bauer returned to the mound for the 5th inning. Things started going the Pirates way once again as back-to-back ground balls found themselves by infielders and set up runners on the corners to begin the inning. Another grounder right up the middle was fielded by Jose Garcia who was standing on the second base bag, turning it into a double play – but also bringing home the runner from third to give Pittsburgh a 4-3 lead. Bauer got out of the inning and then threw a 1-2-3 6th inning to give the Reds two cracks at tying the game or taking the lead.

Lucas Sims came out for the top of the 7th inning. He made quick work of Anthony Alford, striking him out on four pitches. Sims needed three more pitches to strike out John Ryan Murphy for the second out of the inning. The third pitch to Kevin Newman was a lazy fly ball to right field to end the inning. 10 pitches, 9 strikes, and 2 strikeouts. That kept the score at 4-3 and gave the Reds offense one more shot to get at least one run on the board. They didn’t.

Notes worth noting

Pedro Strop, who was released by the Reds on Wednesday, signed with the Chicago Cubs this afternoon.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs Pittsburgh Pirates

Saturday September 5th, 7:05pm ET

Anthony DeSclafani (1-2, 7.71 ERA) vs Trevor Williams (1-5, 5.50 ERA)