Sometimes it’s the stars of the team who get the job done and on Saturday night in Cincinnati that’s exactly what happened as Luis Castillo struck out nine batters in seven innings and Jesse Winker homered and drove in four runs as the Reds picked up their 6th straight win over the Cardinals. Cincinnati has now won the series against St. Louis and they can go for the sweep tomorrow.
|St. Louis Cardinals (49-50)
|Cincinnati Reds (51-47)||5||9||3|
|W: Castillo (4-10) L: Woodford (2-2) SV: Hembree (8)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
The Reds got their offense started in the 1st inning when Jonathan India walked and Jesse Winker and Tyler Naquin singled to load the bases with one out, but two fly outs left the bases stranded.
In the second inning things went better. Shogo Akiyama singled with one out. Jonathan India singled later on in the inning with two outs and that set up Jesse Winker for a 2-run double that put the Reds in the lead.
Cincinnati extended their lead in the 5th when Joey Votto went the opposite way for a 1st-row homer into the left field seats to make it 3-1. It was the 7th inning when the Reds pushed two more across and the names were familiar. Jonathan India led off with a single and Jesse Winker went deep for his 20th home run of the season to make it 5-1. Those two runs proved to be key as the Cardinals could get two runs in the 8th inning. But five was enough for the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night.
After a relatively easy 1st inning, things went south in the 2nd inning for Luis Castillo – but it wasn’t his fault. Errors on the first two plays of the inning led to the Cardinals eventually getting on the board when Harrison Bader singled into left field on a ground ball to put St. Louis up 1-0.
In the 4th inning the Cardinals threatened when back-to-back hits with one out put runners on 2nd and 3rd, but Luis Castillo worked his way out of it. That was the last time that St. Louis really put the pressure on the Reds starter. Well, sort of. With two outs in the 7th inning and a runner on first Dylan Carlson crushed a ball towards the power stacks, but Shogo Akiyama made a running, jumping catch at the wall to rob him of extra-base hits to end the inning. Castillo allowed just four hits over the first 7.0 innings of the game while striking out nine batters.
In the 8th inning the Reds turned the game over to the bullpen, bringing in Brad Brach. Back-to-back doubles to begin the inning led to a Cardinals run to cut the Cincinnati lead to 5-2. A 1-out single by Paul DeJong brought in another run and made it 5-3. Edmundo Sosa singled to follow to put the tying run on the bases. But a line out to Eugenio Suárez in what originally seemed to be a double play to end the inning, but a challenge overturned the second out. Brach then followed by walking Andrew Knizner to load the bases. It was the final batter he’d face as Sean Doolittle was brought on. The Cardinals sent right-handed pinch hitter to Jose Rondon. It took reaching a full count, but Rondon popped up to Kyle Farmer to end the inning and the Reds remained ahead but their lead was halved to 5-3.
Heath Hembree came out to try and close the game out in the 9th. He was set to face the top of the Cardinals order and attempt to hold onto a 2-run lead. Dylan Carlson popped out in foul territory to start the inning. Paul Goldschmidt hit the ball a little bit further but the result was the same – a fly out. That brought Nolan Arenado to the plate and it was more of the same as Hembree got him to fly out to Tyler Naquin in right and end the game.
Notes Worth Noting
Luis Castillo’s ERA in his last 10 starts, dating back to the beginning of June, is now sitting at 1.56. For the season it’s now down to 4.12.
Heath Hembree now has 8 saves, which leads the team, just as we all thought would be the case.
The Cardinals are now a game below .500.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals vs Cincinnati Reds
Sunday July 24, 1:10pm ET
Johan Oviedo (0-5, 4.81 ERA) vs Sonny Gray (2-5, 3.65 ERA)