McCoy: Backed by Castillo’s first career complete game, Reds top Cards

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo celebrates after throwing a complete baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, in St. Louis. The Reds won 3-1. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Cininnati Reds manager David Bell adjusted his lineup card against the Cards Friday night and received an 'A' on his report card.

With help from a superb pitching performance from Luis Castillo, the revised lineup carried the Reds to a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Busch Stadium.

Castillo pitched his first career complete game, a two-hitter. He faced the minimum 19 batters over his last 6 1/3 innings until he walked Paul Goldschmidt on a full count with two outs in the ninth. One batter reached base before Goldschmidt walked and that batter was erased on a double play.

When he walked Goldschmidt he had retired 13 straight and faced the potential tying run in clean-up hitter Brad Miller. Bell permitted Castillo to finish his assignment and Miller grounded out to Castillo.

Castillo said he had no thoughts of being yanked from the game after the ninth-inning walk to Goldschmidt.

“I wasn’t thinking about that, I was just thinking about getting the complete game,” he said. “That’s what I really wanted to do tonight.”

Of his first complete game, Castillo said, “It’s marvelous, it’s marvelous. To throw nine innings of a baseball game, I am super, super emotional.”

And what made him unhittable?

“Attacking,” he said. “Attacking the hitters. That really worked tonight. . .thata we attacked the hitters.”

Bell dropped Joey Votto from leadoff back to his long-standing spot in the No. 3 spot and installed Shogo Akiyama in the leadoff spot — the spot the Reds signed him to occupy.

Talk about instant gratification? Votto crushed a 442-foot two-run home run in the first inning off Adam Wainwright.

Votto was batting .071 on the road this season with no home runs and no RBI. He quickly rectified that.

And the Reds accomplished the much-need victory with Mike Moustakas (sore ankle) and Jesse Winker (sore back) out of the lineup.

Castillo, 1-and-5 when the night began, made those runs stand up against Wainwright, 4-and-0 when he took the mound.

Castillo gave up one run, two hits, walked three and struck out six during his 112-pitch night, 73 for strikes.

And in the ninth inning his fastball was still spinning the dial at 98 and 99 mph.

“I don’t know what was more fun to watch, seeing the complete game and the way he pitched or seeing the smile at the end of the game,” said Bell.

With only 15 games left, the Reds need victories by the bunches and Castillo made certain they grabbed one Friday.

“We’re battling out there,” he said. “And I’m here to help that out, get them the victory when I can get out there.”

The Reds put two quick ones on the board against Wainwright in the first inning. With one out, Nick Castellanos singled and Votto exploded.

He crushed a 3-and-1 breaking pitch into the great beyond give the Reds a 2-0 lead. Votto thought he walked on a 3-and-0 pitch and was headed toward first base when umpire Laz Diaz called it strike one. After Votto gave Diaz the Evil Eye he cranked the next one where an umpire couldn’t call it a ball or a strike.

The Cardinals put runners on second and third with no outs in the second and Castillo escaped with only one run.

It scored on Matt Carpenter’s grounder to first and with a runner on third Castillo struck out Tyler O’Neill, leaving it at 2-1.

“For me, other times that inning might have gone a different way,” said Castillo. “Today I just told myself, ‘OK, I have the confidence to get myself out of this inning.’ I was able to attack them and do that tonight.”

The Reds retrieved that run in the third when Akiyama singled, Votto walked and Eugenio Suarez doubled to left field to push the Reds to a 3-1 lead.

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