McCoy: Reds score second straight walk-off win

Cincinnati Reds' Nick Castellanos watches his solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against Washington Nationals pitcher Patrick Murphy to win a baseball game in Cincinnati, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
Caption
Cincinnati Reds' Nick Castellanos watches his solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against Washington Nationals pitcher Patrick Murphy to win a baseball game in Cincinnati, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

Credit: Paul Vernon

Credit: Paul Vernon

For the second straight night, the Cincinnati Reds walked it off against the Washington Nationals in Great American Ball Park.

But mark it down as too little, too late.

Nick Castellanos hit a one-out home run in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Reds to a 7-6 victory.

But earlier in the day, the St. Louis Cardinals won their club record 16th game in a row and remain six games up on the Reds in the wild card standings.

And the Reds have only seven games left to ‘x’ out on the schedule.

Of the two straight walk-off wins, Castellanos said, “That’s all we can do, man. Everybody is extremely aware of what’s going on. Obviously, the stretch the Cardinals are on is very impressive.

“The only thing we can control are the things we can control,” he added. “Obviously that saying gets repetitive and worn out, but everything seems to come back to that.”

Castellanos came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, the scored tied, 6-6, with one purpose.

“I was looking to hit a home run,” he said. “I’m not going to beat around the bush there. I knew he (Patrick Murphy) threw real hard. Any time a pitcher is proud of his fastball and wants to play fire versus fire, I love that game.”

And the result was a 31st home run for Castellanos, who keeps giving read-between-the-lines hints about next season.

Castellanos can opt out of his Reds contract after the season and become a free agent or stay on.

He was asked about playing in Cincinnati the last couple of years and he went into a positive-sounding soliloquy.

Not long ago, catcher Tucker Barnhart distributed T-shirts to his teammates on which was printed, “Cincinnati Reds Against the World.” Castellanos buys in.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned about Cincinnati baseball is that real Cincinnati fans have a chip on their shoulders,” he said. “It’s because of The Bad Boys (he meant Nasty Boys) of the ‘90′s  and how they played, how they grinded, how they took everything personal.

“I don’t know if it’s a small market that is overlooked, we always end up on the butt end of every decision Major League Baseball makes,” he said. “It is kinda cool to take on the Cincinnati versus everybody mentality. If you really embrace that, you can tap into what Pete Rose did, what Eric Davis did, what Barry Larkin did and The Bad Boys bullpen, whatever they were called.”

They were the Nasty Boys — Rob Dibble, Norm Charlton and Randy Myers — but even if Castellanos doesn’t know their nickname, his message is factory whistle loud and mountain stream clear.

“I knew nothing about Cincinnati baseball until I became a Red,” he said. “You just watch highlights of when they played, the passion they took into games. That’s what I love most about being a Red.”

So how was he turned onto this?

“It’s kind of being in the environment, right?” he said. “The longer you are in the environment, the more you can feel it and absorb it and recognize what was. You see the highlight films, you listen to the fans talk about their favorite stories. You start absorbing everything that is Reds baseball. That’s a conclusion I’ve come up with.”

And Reds fans hope Castellanos has absorbed enough history and lore to make him continue wearing a Reds uniform.

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