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Reds notes: Longer starts make Riggleman’s job easier

Starters help out relievers when they pitch deeper into games

Luis Castillo lasted 6 2/3 innings Monday for the Cincinnati Reds. It was his longest start since April 16.

Only twice since June 1 have Reds starters failed to last at least five innings — Castillo had both of those performances. In general, the starters have pitched longer into games, making interim manager Jim Riggleman’s job easier.

“It’s been much better,” said Riggleman on Tuesday before a 12-8, 12-inning loss to the Chicago White Sox at Great American Ball Park. “All of them, really. It’s not just that they’ve gone deeper, but earlier when they weren’t going deeper in the game, they were making me get the bullpen up in the second or third inning. Sometimes then they pitch out of trouble, and that guy in the bullpen got hot in the second and he gets hot again in the fourth.

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“By the time you get him in the game, he’s more worn out than the starter. It all works together. When the starter’s going good, you use the bullpen the way you want to use it, but you also don’t have guys wasting efforts for games that they don’t eventually get in.”

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Garrett’s struggles: Reliever Amir Garrett, one of the most dependable arms in the bullpen for most of the season, had allowed a run in his last three appearances — his ERA climbing from 2.40 to 2.98 — until he pitched a scoreless third of an inning Tuesday.

Garrett gave up a run on two hits and didn’t record an out Monday against the White Sox, who turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead.

“It’s the major leagues,” Riggleman said. “They’re trying to get you if you make a bad pitch. He came in firing like he does, but he just left a breaking ball up, and the hitter got him. The next hitter, he got strike one with a 97 mile-per-hour fastball. He’s letting it go. A groundball went down the third-base line. That’s the way it goes.”

Local support: White Sox center fielder Adam Engel had a big cheering section in the left-field stands Tuesday. He’s a graduate of Loveland High School who played at the University of Louisville. He made his big-league debut in 2017 and is hitting .219 this season.

History lesson: The Reds and White Sox played an extra-inning game for the first time since the 1919 World Series. The White Sox won Game 6 5-4 in 10 innings in Cincinnati.

Hot bats: Eugenio Suarez hit a two-run home run in the first inning Tuesday to extend his hitting streak to seven games. He leads the Reds with 17 home runs. He’s tied with the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado for the National League lead with 63 RBIs.

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Scooter Gennett also hit a two-run home run in the first inning. He has 14 home runs. He continues to lead the league with a .332 average.

Adam Duvall hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning. It was his 13th home run of the season. In the last 15 games, he’s hitting .292.

Looking ahead: The Reds are off Thursday and start a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday. The Reds are 6-3 against the Cubs this season after a four-game sweep at Great American Ball Park in June.

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