SAN DIEGO –– Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo’s sinker and his fastball were as effective on Sunday as they had been all season, so he used those two pitches on one of the most important at-bats of the game.
In a scoreless game with two outs in the bottom of the third inning, Castillo threw three pitches in the strike zone to San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer. Two of those pitches were ruled balls by the home plate umpire, so Hosmer walked instead of struck out.
On the next at-bat, Padres right fielder Wil Myers hit a three-run triple. Castillo nearly threw six shutout innings on Sunday, but instead he took the loss in a 3-2 defeat to San Diego.
With the loss, the Reds lost their fourth consecutive game and fell back to 35-35. Even though the Reds opened the road trip with a three-game sweep in Milwaukee, Cincinnati fell to 3-4 on the road trip as they left San Diego.
Early on, Castillo looked poised for one of his best starts of the season. He hadn’t thrown a pitch faster than 99.5 all year, but Castillo topped that velocity three times in the first inning against the Padres.
Then in the second inning, Castillo threw a 100 mph sinker as he continued to retire Padres hitters.
Castillo allowed three runs in the third by a narrow margin. After allowing a single and the walk to Hosmer, Myers hit a triple down the right field line. Reds first baseman Joey Votto didn’t connect with Eugenio Suárez on the throw to third, and Myers scored on the error to give the Padres a 3-0 lead.
Castillo allowed only three hits the rest of the game, but San Diego still led 3-0 when Castillo left the game. The Reds brought the go-ahead run to the plate in two of the last three innings, but both times the Padres infield defense prevented the tying run from scoring with a highlight defensive play.
The Reds defense didn’t have the same impact on the game or the series. In addition to Votto’s throwing error, Tyler Naquin bobbled a ground ball in right field on Sunday. In Saturday’s game, the Reds committed two more errors.
Cincinnati entered the series in San Diego on a six-game winning streak. But the Reds bullpen took the loss on Thursday and Saturday, and the Reds offense struggled on Friday and Sunday.
Heading to Minnesota for a two-game series, the Reds are back at .500 and four games out of first place in the NL Central.