Nick Castellanos knocked in four runs and the shaky Cincinnati Reds bullpen was able to hold on to a late lead in a 5-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Great American Ball Park.

Final R H E
Atlanta Braves (35-39) 3 7 0
Cincinnati Reds (37-36)
5 8 1
W: Santillan (1-0) L: Chavez (0-1)  SV: Brach (1)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Castellanos batted 2-for-3 with a homer and a sacrifice fly. Brad Brach retired the side in the ninth inning to earn his first save since 2018 (with Atlanta, ironically), and he continues to cement himself a role in high-leverage, late-inning situations.

The win puts the Reds back over .500 at 37-36 and within four games of Milwaukee, which is off today.

The Offense

Atlanta’s “Johnny Wholestaff,” as TV analyst Barry Larkin referred to the Braves’ utilization of a bullpen game, held the Reds to five runs on eight hits and eight walks. Atlanta’s bullpen ERA was close to 5.00 before the game, so if you told Manager Brian Snitker before the game that’s what he would get, he probably would have said, okay, let’s see what happens.

Jonathan India led off the game with a double (his first of two) and eventually scored the Reds’ first run on a Nick Castellanos sacrifice fly. Then in the third inning, Tony Santillan lined his first big-league hit, a double into the left-field corner. Two outs later he was standing on third and the Reds looked at risk of missing an opportunity. But then this, which I absolutely loved, happened …

Votto had been looking overmatched in his first plate appearance and into this one, his second. Instead of flailing at strike three, he put the ball in play and hustled to first to knock in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the third.

Castellanos struck again in the bottom of the seventh against Atlanta’s Luke Jackson to increase the home team’s lead to 4-1.

In the bottom of the eighth, Castellanos knocked in a very important insurance run with a long single which gave Cincinnati the final 5-3 advantage.

The Pitching

Starter Santillan had his most impressive outing through three major league starts. In six innings, he allowed only one run on Freddie Freeman’s first-inning solo shot. He struck out a career-high eight batters while allowing a total of three hits and three walks. His breaking pitch was the best we have seen during his still-brief time in the bigs. He was able to locate it well within the strike zone, even when behind in the count.

In checking, I was surprised to discover that Santillan is essentially a two-pitch pitcher. Of his 104 pitches, 48 were sliders and 47 were four-seam fastballs. The sliders elicited 19 swings, 13 of which were whiffs (68 percent). The other nine were changeups.

Two-pitch pitchers typically fit better in the bullpen where they usually don’t face hitters any more than once per game. I sure wouldn’t mind seeing Santillan get a look in the bullpen once Sonny Gray returns to the rotation.

Amir Garrett was very sharp in a one-two-three seventh, then Tejay Antone came on to get beat around in the eighth for two runs on three hits, including a solo homer to Ozzie Albies — the major-league-leading 49th homer surrendered by Reds relievers. But to his credit, with the bases loaded and one out, Antone got out of the jam with the Reds still up, 4-3. Then Brach got it done to close things out.

Notes Worth Noting

His first major-league win was not Santillan’s only milestone …


Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds

Friday, June 25, 7:10 p.m. ET

TBA vs Vladimir Gutierrez (3-1, 3.86 ERA)

46 Responses

  1. Indy Red Man

    No thanks to Wink, but we did score in the 9th. 4-3 5-3….a win is a win!

    • Scott C

      Yeah that was Winkers second TOOTBLAN in two days. I love the guy but he needs to do better on the base paths.

      • Angelo

        Could not agree more, Winker has been a joke on the base paths all year long. He really needs to get better.

  2. JB WV

    Great to see Brach come in and close things out. Down 2-0 on Freeman but didn’t walk him, made him hit it even though he singled. That’s ok. He was aggressive the whole inning.

    • MK

      Beach might be the highlight of the game for me. He has put up both good and bad number in previous years. Let’s hope Johnson has him on a positive path to solving the closer issue.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        In 15 appearances, Brach has been scored upon only three times. He’s flying under the radar as a key contributor and possible closer.

      • Jim Walker

        @Tom Brach and Hembree both remind me of Stormy Weathers. They get the Bear most of the time but understand that some days the Bear is going to get them but they just keep coming out and doing their best the way they think works best for the team.
        Hembree’s lately run of grooving HR balls is a bit concerning however. Perhaps he is among the many in the Reds pen who is being over used.

  3. BatsLeftThrowsRight

    I would be very concerned about Antone. Both soft stuff and hard stuff were flat. Threw a bunch of hangers he got away with.

    Votto needs to make the tough back hand play. Winker needs to be fined for his constant base running buffoonery and Suarez is back to uncompetitive ABS.

    Gotta crush a team like Atlanta right now. They need to sweep this injury riddled team. I heard the Reds are now going to miss Morton on Sunday too. No excuses here, get the job done.

    • Carl

      Suarez got on 50% of his bats tonight. I’d take uncompetitive at bats like that every game from him.

    • Reddawg2012

      It seems like you didn’t enjoy the win very much.

    • MuddyCleats

      Right there w/ you. Antone didn’t appear to trust his breaking ball? Didn’t see the same sharp break as usual which makes me wonder if the arm is still tender? Sims essentially has same issue – he cranks hard on the breaking ball and now elbow is barking. Our 2 best BP pieces hurting is not a good omen, but nice 2 see AG pitching better as well as Brach and have been impressed w/ Embree.
      Tough play for Votto, but one a ML needs to make. Impressed home score keeper charged the error.
      Suarez appears to b a lost cause. I thought he was trying to change, but he seems unable or unwilling to hit the other way. Almost everyone else on the team has the ability or r willing to try. Suarez, Senzel & Naquin – not so much. Everyone knows Suarez does NOT handle pitches low and away well. Yet, he continues to take the in and middle in pitch and wave at the away pitches?? Head and front shoulder still pulling off the ball w/ uppercut swing ???? I still question, “is he and team working on it?” Team doesn’t have many good options until Moose, Senzel or Shrock make it back?
      I doubt he would bring much in trade? I think Nats might be a good fit; maybe bring a RP (Rainey) back??

      • Scott C

        Disagree about Senzel and Naquin. Naquin took one to left last night.

      • RojoB

        Where did your take on Senzel come from? I don’t see it.

      • Jim Walker

        Yeah but they gave Votto a hit on that infield blooper the Braves SS (or whoever was closing on it from the shift) kicked around before he got a throw off and just missed getting the out.

  4. Bet on Red

    New injury report. Nick going to IL with a back that is broken cause he carried the team today. Joking of course. Room for improvement. Hoping Antone issues a not related to a spider.

    • BatsLeftThrowsRight

      I think it’s going to be a sticky situation ahead. We shall see what happens….

    • RojoB

      What Manfred doesn’t know is that Arachnid-glue also helps the pitchers heal forearm strains faster. That’s why Antone is slower to return to pre- IL form, you see

  5. Indy Red Man


    India .444 obp in June coming in and went 2-4 (2 doubles) with a walk and scored 3 runs! You can tell the kid is very confident and the Reds might have their leadoff hitter for the next 10 years!

    Santillan was great. He didn’t look very polished in his first 2 starts, but his breaking stuff was top notch and he obviously doesn’t get shook up with men on base. He might beat out Vlad or atleast help the pen when Sonny gets back. I don’t think Tony or Vlad are going back down anytime soon.

    Votto’s rbi was huge too. I was sure Swanson still had him, but he beat it easily. He’s running better for some reason?

    Brach was good too. Brach>Warren>Hembree imo, but we’ll see what Bell thinks?

    • Indy Red Man

      Hoffman in and Doolittle out would help this team too! Hoff can 2 innings easily with his background. Doolittle is done. Almost every runner he’s inherited has scored so in reality he’s alot worse then his mediocre era. Atleast Osich has a breaking ball like a lefty reliever is supposed to.

      • Maloney63

        Yeah, Doolittle is allowing inherited runners to score at some sort of record pace. That isn’t talked about enough. And I too was amazed Votto beat out that infield hit with relative ease. His legs must be feeling really good right now!

      • Still a Red

        Loved Joey punching that ball like he did. Looked like he tried to take to the SS-3rd gap…knowing his intent he knew he had to run out of the box…noticed he did stretch to get to 1st either…keeping his hamstring. Suarez needs some lessons from Castellanos on those low outside breaking balls. He needs to be able to read that pitch and lay off if it’s going to be a ball, and learn how to go down and send them to right if its still hittable.

      • Still a Red

        whoops…notice Joey did NOT stretch to reach the bag.

  6. RedsFan11

    Listen I get it, Bob already paid for Suarez. Since 2020 he has played almsot a full season (550 PAs) and is hitting .190 / .280. What’s crazy is even with that horrific average he has 30 HRs and 81 RBI. I have little faith each AB but I can live with those numbers.

    I don’t think we should live with those numbers at both short and third. Bob isn’t going to spend any more money. Krall knows this that’s why he made that ridiculous statement the other day. Why won’t they at least try Alejo at SS for a few games in Louisville? Are they scared he will go into a hitting slump being worried about playing a new position?

    • Jim Walker

      I suspect the Reds have already decided from what they have seen of Alejo Lopez range and arm that he is not an MLB SS candidate. That said Farmer seems to be running down in the field; and, I wonder what it takes to be better at SS than Suarez or Freeman.

      • RojoB

        “I wonder what it takes to be better at SS than Suarez or Freeman.”

        The bar isn’t very high, is it?

  7. Gonzo Reds

    Nice note on Santillan’s pitch mix Tom. I agree about sticking him in the bullpen rather than shuffling back to AAA.

    • MuddyCleats

      When Sony comes back, someone has to go and Santillan would seem to b the logical choice. Not sure Reds will keep Tony in BP though? Kid pitched well, but it seems all his pitches over the plate R in the middle of the plate? He hasn’t pitched to the edges fm what I’ve seen?? Not sure that’s a recipe for success in the ML ? To me, it looks like he still needs to work on commanding all his pitches?

      He probably sticks w/ Reds until Hoffman and or Lorenzen make it back?

  8. Klugo

    Is Winker the world’s worst base runner?? Geez.

    • Maloney63

      He seems to want to think he’s Billy Hamilton on the bases, but in reality he has the speed of Big Klu!

      • Old Big Ed

        Big Klu was actually a receiver on a very good Indiana University football team. He also stole as many as 6 bases in a season for the Reds.

        Klu’s mother was a better baserunner than Winker.

  9. Randy in Chatt

    Renegotiate Blastellanos’ salary terms ASAP if he is open to it. Add money to the 4 year opt-out deal to ensure that he stays a Red all 4 years by removing the opt-out option. I hate to think what the hitting lineup would look like without him. He is one of the game’s elite hitters right now. Do it ASAP big Bob & Krall. I’d hate seeing him in a different uniform next season.

    • Old Big Ed

      It ain’t that easy. Castellanos (now in his age 29 season) can opt out and maybe get $25 to $30 million/year for 5 years, through his age 34 season. The Reds now owe him $16 million in 2022 and 2023, plus there is a $20 million “mutual option” (which is pretty meaningless) for 2024, or else a $2 million buyout.

      In short, they would owe him $34 million for two more years. He ought to be able to get at least $55 million for those two years by opting out after this year and signing elsewhere. To make a competitive offer, then, the Reds would have to ante up $10 million or more per year for the next 2 years, plus make an attractive and competitive offer for maybe 3-4 more years.

      The Reds would therefore have to commit at least another $100 million to Castellanos to make staying in Cincinnati a viable option. And they would have to do so over the same span of years that Jesse Winker will seek a big contract.

      It may be plausible, given Joey Votto’s Canadian citizenship and tax implications, for the Reds to restructure the last year of his contract over several years, to make it a win-win for both him and the Reds. If so, that could smooth out the cash outlays on Votto, Castellanos and Winker over the next half-dozen years or so.

      They are also going to need takers for at least some of the Moustakas and Akiyama contracts.

      • Indy Red Man

        The Reds are going to fall short on any offer to Nick. Thats just reality. Now he might take less possibly? GABP is a good fit for him and he seems to like it in Cincy. Maybe $110 mil/4 yrs ($27-28 per year) or something, but can the Reds pony up for that? IDK? Surely they can have a heart to heart with him before the trade deadline and deal him if need be.

        Worst case scenario imo is that we hang around 4-5 games out and they keep him for the rest of the year and then he leaves. I think they have enough goodwill there and a good line of communication to avoid the situation my Pacers always fall into. Paul George “Yeah, I want to bring other free agents here and really help build this thing”…next week he’s gone.

        We have a good young nucleus coming together and they need to keep adding to it if Nick wants top dollar!

  10. Redhaze

    I am thinking out of the box, but what about signing Bartolo Colon or Mike Leake to a minor league deal to have a veteran that can pitch multiple innings out of the pen.

    • Doug Gray

      I can’t be certain, but I know that Mike Leake opted out of playing last year, and I feel like that’s the same this year. Obviously things have been changing and that could play into his decision, but I also think if he were going to come back, he’d be looking for an opportunity somewhere as a starter.

      • Redhaze

        Makes sense Doug. We just need someone to eat up innings besides Antone that is not going to have a 7.00 ERA. Colon recently pitched a complete game. He has always been able to pitch effectively as he gets older.

      • Doug Gray

        Yeah – it’s a real problem that doesn’t have an “easy” solution, internally. As Chad and I discussed on this weeks podcast, the only answers seem to be starting pitchers between Santillan/Gutierrez when Sonny returns, Jeff Hoffman, and if you want to get wild, Greene or Lodolo. Then you’re just waiting around on Lorenzen and hoping that he 1, gets healthy and can actually return in three weeks, and 2, can perform as you hope after the injury.

      • RojoB

        @Doug- I hope they aren’t playing the “when Lorenzen gets back it will be all better” game.

        It’s usually a losing proposition to hang all hopes on a player returning from a long time off for injury

      • Jim Walker

        Is there a vector of crazy and desperate??? 😉

  11. James Dennis Westrick

    Even the MLB Network analysts on the pregame show last night said the Reds are a dangerous team in the NL Central if they can get their bullpen straightened out!

  12. Roger Garrett

    Great win last night but we know and so does Bob what needs to be done.Pen needs help and we need a short stop and we need help now.Farmer is not an every day player and especially at a defense first position and he is wearing down.Suarez is worse then him defensively and neither have hit.Fix the pen,bring up a short stop and when Senzel or Moose return they take over at third.That is as good as we can get with this roster for this year.It maybe good enough to win the Central.In addition must plan for Nick leaving and if we have no plan to fix our team this year then move him at the deadline.These things are doable but can’t set back and wait regarding the pen and a short stop.Of course nothing has been done to date and the problems have been there all along.

    • Old-school

      Reds still have 17 big games prior to the All Star break and ownership and Krall arent paying anything until they get to the 100 + game mark and understand the REds injury situation and playoff %. David Bell just told the Reds beat writers that Senzel is making progress but still has some swelling and it will be after the All Star break plus a rehab stint. It could be late July. Moose on the other hand is still having pain and isn’t running. There’s no way the Reds get a SS if Moose and Suarez are both healthy on August 1 as the Reds aren’t benching either. Farmer is going to be the SS until Suarez takes over when Moose is healthy. If Moose needs surgery or looks like he’s out for months then the Reds might get a SS on July 31. Farmer is the guy .

    • Indy Red Man

      I wonder if Barrero-Garcia’s defense is a little subpar because it seems like a no-brainer that they’d give the kid another chance with the Reds? Like you said, Farmer isn’t a starter and the more you expose a bench player then the worse he usually does.

      One of the ways to protect the pen is to optimize the offense and score more runs. Its not brain surgery? Barrero>Farmer and Stephenson atleast = Barnhart seem like easy & quick fixes. Tucker has been great this year, but Stephenson is too talented to play 1-2 times a week.

      • Roger Garrett

        You are correct.Formula is to score early,extend the starter and hope we can get the win.May sound silly but some small ball of hit and run and don’t quote me but a bunt could get us a run or two early.Yesterday with the Braves pen game they walked Casty I believe in the 3rd to pitch to Joey and we know why but it was only in the 3rd and that is rare these days.Just have to minimize using the pen and sometimes just have to go against the book or the grain or whatever other term we need to use to score more or keep them from scoring.Risky,of course but so is our pen and I am being nice.

      • Old-school

        Barrero is not coming up.

        1.) He needs to play and develop everyday and get 500 at bats.
        2.) Suarez and Moose make $28 million and the Reds are so “poor” they are deferring moose and Castellanos salaries to future years. Talk about dead money. Its the gift that keeps on giving.

        Barrero is not playing SS this year unless its aug 1and moose is done for the year.

  13. Indy Red Man

    Good point on the Reds front office being in wait-n-see mode. They have 7 games in a row with Milwaukee before and after the AS break.
    They may get a reliever in the meantime, but it would be on the cheap I’m sure if it happens.

    Brewers 1 thru 4 in the lineup are 0-8 with 6 Ks so far today vs Jon Gray.
    Bradley .153 and Hiura .126 are also in the lineup. They have big problems.