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Luis Castillo pitches Reds to 6-4 victory over Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Luis Castillo earned his first victory since early April, rookies Tyler Stephenson and Jonathan India homered and the Cincinnati Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 on Friday night.

“It was time,” Castillo said through a translator. “What more can I say? Glad we were able to break the ice today and get that ‘W.’ I definitely felt different today.”

Castillo (2-8), who was the Reds’ opening-day starter, picked up first quality start and win since his second start of the season, an 11-4 victory over Pittsburgh on April 7. Castillo snapped a seven-start losing streak against the Cardinals. St. Louis tagged Castillo for 10 runs in 3 1/3 innings on April 1, and the Cards scored four runs off the 2019 All-Star right-hander in five innings on April 25.

On Friday night, he held the Cardinals in check, allowing one run and three hits with five strikeouts over six innings.

“The preparation for this game really helped me out,” Castillo said. “I said ‘I got it, I really got it.’ I wanted to do my best.”

Manager David Bell said it good for Castillo to get a victory.

“Everyone was thrilled for Luis,” Bell said. “He’s done it for the rest of the team so many times. We stayed with him. All his teammates love him. The way he did it, attacking with his fastball was good.”

Michael Feliz picked up his first save, punctuating the win by striking out Paul Goldschmidt on three pitches.

Nick Castellanos hit two doubles and Stephenson also had a RBI single for the Reds.

Cincinnati struck for three runs in the second inning. Stephenson hit the first pitch into left field. With one out, Kyle Farmer was hit by a pitch. India then homered to left field, giving the Reds a 3-0 advantage.

“I’m feeling good,” said India, who also reached base on two walks. “He threw a cutter and it was over the middle and I got it.”

The Cardinals’ Edmundo Sosa hit his first major league home run in the fifth inning with one out. He took a curtain call.

“It was really good,” Sosa said. “It felt good to do it here in front of the crowd here at Busch Stadium. As soon as I made contact, I knew it would be gone. It’s a beautiful sensation that I’m going to remember.”

Cincinnati got the run back in the sixth with two outs. India walked and Castillo, hitting eighth in the order, doubled to deep center, putting the Reds up 4-1.

“Hitting a double in the league, that’s it right? That pitch was over the plate and I made good contact,” Castillo said.

Left-handed relief pitcher Andrew Miller, who was activated Thursday, loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh. Miller, the fourth of five Cardinal pitchers, escaped the jam by striking out Farmer.

“Nice to get back out there. I like what I’m doing,” Miller said. “I’m in a much better place. I’m happy with it. I hope it’s just a start. ”

Cincinnati added two insurance runs in the ninth on a single and fielders choice.

“Those tack-on runs are always big,” Bell said. “They can change everything against a good team.”

The Cardinals made it close in the ninth when Matt Carpenter doubled home a run and Tommy Edman doubled in two runs. Feliz relieved and retired Goldschmidt.

“It’s never easy,” Bell said. “That’s OK. It’s not as smooth as you’d like. I think the bullpen guys did a good job. Feliz there on Goldschmidt was outstanding. In competition, it doesn’t always go exactly like you want.”

Manager Mike Shildt said his club “played our tails off” and just came up short.

“Guys are playing the game,” Shildt said. “We got in their bullpen and did some good things. We were down 6-1 in the ninth and the next thing you know you have the winning run at the plate. It says a lot about your club. I have a lot of respect for the group. The effort was there. A lot of positives tonight.”

The Reds had won four of their last five games. The Cardinals have lost five of their last six.

St. Louis left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim (1-4) left after making one warmup pitch in the fourth inning. The team said he was removed with lower back tightness. Kim allowed three runs on two hits with three strikeouts and a hit batter.

HIT BY PITCH

Three Cardinals pitchers combined to hit four Reds batters, one day after Adam Wainwright hit three. St. Louis leads the major leagues in that category with 47 in 58 games. The Reds’ 1B Alex Blandino left the game in the bottom of the fifth with an apparent hand injury after he was hit. Mike Freeman took his place at first base in the bottom half of the inning.

GOOD DEFENSE

LF Tyler O’Neill ran a long way to make a highlight catch of a fly hit into foul territory by Shogo Akiyama. O’Neill slid and collided with the wall, but held onto the ball and quickly bounced up. In the eighth, O’Neill threw out India at second when he tried to stretch a single into a double with one out.

TRAINING ROOM

Reds: 1B Joey Votto (broken left thumb) and OF Aristides Aquino (left hamate fracture) are on rehabilitation assignments at Triple-A Louisville. Votto last played for the Reds on May 5 against the White Sox, when he suffered the thumb injury after he was hit by a Dallas Keuchel changeup. Aquino hasn’t played for the Reds since April 13. … INF Mike Moustakas (right heel bruise) is still working his way back from when he injured his foot by awkwardly stepping on the first base bag in Colorado last month.

Cardinals: SS Paul DeJong (non-displaced rib fracture) will begin a two-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Memphis on Saturday. DeJong, out since May 12 after he was hit by a pitch by Milwaukee’s Freddy Peralta, will return to St. Louis for further evaluation. … CF Harrison Bader (ribs) was wearing a fielder’s glove Friday and doing some light throwing. Bader went on the injured list May 25.

UP NEXT

The Reds will start RHP Tyler Mahle (4-2 3.42 ERA) on Saturday. In Mahle’s 11 starts his year, the Reds are 8-3. Over the last two seasons, opponents are hitting just .210 against Mahle. RHP Johan Oviedo (0-2, 5.40) was recalled June 1 from Triple-A Memphis and will start for St. Louis. The 23-year-old Oviedo has appeared in five games (four starts) with the Cardinals this season.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

By WARREN MAYES
Associated Press

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